Senator Barack Obama is interested in utilizing rappers to educate youth with Hip-Hop, should he make it to the White House.
“Ive met with Jay-Z; Ive met with Kanye. And Ive talked to other artists about how potentially to bridge that gap. I think the potential for them to deliver a message of extraordinary power that gets people thinking [is strong],” the presidential hopeful told Jeff Johnson on BET special Whats In It For Us?
While the possibilities are endless, Obama said that he still remains disturbed at some of the harsh images represented in Hip-Hop music.
“There are times, even on the artists Ive named, the artists that I love, that there is a message thats, sometimes degrading to women, uses the N-word a lil too frequently,” he said on the show, which was played on Monday. “But also something that Im really concerned about is [they are] always talking about material things about how I can get something-more money, more cars.”
Obama admitted to being an “old school guy” that likes 60s and 70s soul music.
“I gotta admit lately Ive been listening to a lot of Jay-Z. This new American Gangster album is [good]. Kanye, I like. I enjoy some of the newer stuff. Honestly, I love the art of Hip-Hop. I dont always love the message of Hip-Hop.”
After being asked if he liked Hip-Hop, the Illinois Senator replied, “Of course.”
Last year, Russell Simmons criticized Obama for calling on some rappers to amend their vulgar lyrics.
“What we need to reform is the conditions that create these lyrics. Obama needs to reform the conditions of poverty. I wish he really did raise his money on the Internet, like he said. I wish he really did raise his money independently.”
Simmons later rescinded some of his claims and apologized to the Senator.
Throughout his campaign, Obama has preached under the mantra of change and he said he would like rappers to envision change through their music.
“Hip-Hop is not just a mirror of what is it should be a mirror of what can be. A lot of people say, I want to be real. I want to be down. Then were just trapped in ‘What is.’ Imagine something different. Imagine communities that arent torn up by violence.
“Imagine that were respecting our women,” Obama continued. “Imagine communities where knowledge and reading and academic excellence are valued, communities where fathers are doing right by their kids. Art cant just be a rearview mirror. It should have a headlight on there pointing to where we need to go.”
The show was telecast as the results of the New Hampshire Democratic primary were coming in.
Obama placed second after Hillary Clinton after besting the New York Senator in Iowa.
Despite the loss, Obama remained optimistic in a speech to his supporters.
“You know, a few weeks ago no one imagined that we’d have accomplished what we did here tonight in New Hampshire. For most of this campaign, we were far behind. We always knew our climb would be steep,” he said to the crowd. “I am still fired up and ready to go.”
With 75 percent of the precincts reporting, Senator Clinton raked in 39 percent of the vote and Obama took about 36 percent.