Obama as Hip-Hop Icon

in Thug Life

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780226395845
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226395869 | DOI:
Obama as Hip-Hop Icon

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This chapter attempts to make sense of President Barack Obama's rise as a hip-hop icon, given the arguments about complex cool black masculinity in hip-hop. Obama is a community-organizer-turned-president who played a Jay-Z song at his Iowa caucus victory party. While he played the role of redeemer naturally, his reluctant turn as a hip-hop icon has been touch and go. Obama is a cool black celebrity, hip-hop features plenty of cool black celebrities, and therefore, Obama and hip-hop fit together. It is his age and his biography and personal affect that make him an instant hip-hop celebrity. Though hip-hop communities seemed to have adopted Obama as their own, complex cool hip-hop performances have been received with less fanfare, and mainstream society seems less willing to humanize with commercially successful MCs than they are with Obama and other politicians with indiscretions on their records and skeletons in their closets.

Keywords: hip-hop icon; President Barack Obama; black masculinity; cool black celebrity; hip-hop performances; Jay-Z

Chapter.  2814 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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