Lil Wayne, Ice Cube, 50 Cent and others have shaken things up, only underscoring the larger, more pronounced issues that face Black America. Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur says there is more than meets the eye.
What we know.
In his bid for reelection, Donald Trump and his administration have openly courted Black men, particularly the Hip-Hop community, in an effort to peel off support from the Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden. The 45th president, who once was a Hip-Hop darling, has since become a scourge to the culture for his penchant for racism, divisive tactics, and flat out pandering.
Most recently, rapper Lil Wayne tweeted that he met with the president over the Platinum Plan, but did not reveal much more.
“Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership. He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done.”
The Lil Wayne link-up with President Trump was met with a tremendous amount of scorn, but, those that know, understand this is not uncharacteristic for the New Orleans rap artist. He’s defended brutal police, denounced Black Lives Matter and has been generally apathetic to issues that affect ordinary Black people. In 2016, Jeezy said, “(Wayne) might not be connected on that level. It is difficult because he’s been rich for a long time. He’s been living on his own island for a long time. Maybe it’s something he just don’t see.”
Jeezy’s view of Wayne would also explain 50 Cent’s brief ringing endorsement of President Trump, where he erroneously cited Biden’s tax plan. In Biden’s tax plan, New York residents raking in over $400,000 per year, could pay upwards of 62 percent of their wages in state and federal taxes. So, the Queens-bred mogul was partially right: He’ll pay considerably less in taxes under The Donald.
Maybe Waka Flocka is making more now than he was making in 2017. He’s traded in his anti-Trump stance a couple of years ago for support, charging that Trump is “better” than Barack Obama. In 2017, he literally wiped his bare butt on stage in front of a crowd with a Donald Trump shirt. So, why the switch up?
Nobody represents the perception or reality of this shift more than O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson, the pyroclastic rapper/actor/mogul that totally shook-up up the political landscape weeks ago. The ordeal, which had been bubbling for months, finally spilled over after President Trump’s Senior Advisor Katrina Pierson gleefully tweeted, “Shoutout to @icecube for his willingness to step up and work with @realDonaldTrump Administration to help develop the Platinum Plan…Leaders gonna lead, haters gonna hate. Thank you for leading! ✊🏾.”
The appreciation and disclosure by Pierson lacked any substantive details or context, causing many to assume that Cube completely sold out. That was not exactly the case.
Here is some context. Ice Cube is an iconic, transformative, and, at times, problematic hero of Hip-Hop. In the late 1980’s, he gave the streets an unrepentant political voice laced with rebellious angst. Soon, that expanded to Hollywood, along with bankable peers like Will Smith, Queen Latifah, and LL Cool J. Despite penning 8-bars of fury on “Burn Hollywood Burn,” Cube continued to make strides in Tinsel Town, unlike any other gangsta rapper. For some, what we have witnessed recently has clashed dramatically with what we believe to know about the rapper/actor.
Ice Cube, an entertainer of 30-plus years, is not is a conventional activist, philanthropist, aristocrat, or politician. He has been consistently outspoken and openly critical of Trump. Rap fans and the streets adore Cube because of his penmanship on N.W.A.’s “F**k The Police,” “No Vaseline,” “Today Was A Good Day,” and seminal albums like Amerikkka’s Most Wanted and Death Certificate. Leading the people has not been his strong suit, but his booming voice has fueled many social sentiments.
Cube’s contract Contract With Black America is a powerful document that has unfortunately been overshadowed by the connection to Trump. Cube has acknowledged the criticism, pushback, and outrage from the largely Democratic peanut gallery.
“My reputation will be alright. I’m a big boy. I knew this was gonna get ugly, because we are talking about politics and we are getting to the point where the rubber meets the road,” Ice Cube said in an interview with Antonio Moore, founder of ADOS. “The question is why is that opportunity there? Why hasn’t the Democratic Party stepped all the way up to the plate and took care of Black people, but…Black men specifically? That’s where the crack is.”
Trump clearly knows there’s a disconnected minority, even though Black men and women are most likely to support the Biden/Harris ticket. So, if the Dems aren’t courting Black men sufficiently as Cube says, Trump’s regime is worse. Two shining examples of Trump’s dismissiveness about Black men include Trump’s complete discount of Herman Caine’s death from Covid-19 and Trump’s non-stop clarion calls to white nationalists.
Racism or a refusal to denounce “white supremacy” aren’t deal breakers to his elite supporters like Lil Wayne. But there’s also, Trump’s ridiculously primitive form of grab-em-by-the-pu$$y sexism. And his xenophobia. And his mishandling of Covid-19, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. And an economy that is in the toilet. Oh and the many lies. The dogmatism appeals to hyper-masculine sentiments that many view as straight-up toxic. Upstart rapper BlocBoy JB tweeted, “I’m Starting To Like Trump No Cap. Dude A## Gangsta” (he recently took it back). But honestly, authoritarian white masculinity like Trump’s only underscores cracks in Black leadership, or as some would say “misleadership.” So, Cube steps up to “do something.”
“Every great man in the world has spoke to somebody in power at some point in time, whether they agree with him or not. I told everybody what I was gonna do and I did it. They (Trump’s Administration) exploited it, but if I would have – you know – did something for Biden, they would have exploited it too. So that’s just part of the game,” Ice Cube told Roland Martin. During this same interview with Roland Martin, Cube essentially admitted Trump used him in, but Cube “Kanye-shrugged it off,” saying a meeting with Biden would have yielded the same result.
Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey met with the KKK to establish separate territories for Black Americans (they failed). Martin Luther King, Jr. successfully advanced Black interests by working with president Lyndon B. Johnson. Publishing legend Earl Graves received assistance from then-president Richard Nixon to jump-start Black Enterprise magazine in the late ’60s. Roy Innis and Floyd McKissick also linked up with the eternally disgraced 37th president and James Brown, Sammy Davis, Jr., Lionel Hampton, and Wilt chamberlain endorsed him at that time.
So meeting with the “enemy,” isn’t new, but Ice Cube working with Trump on a “Platinum Plan” for Black America just feels different. So, what is the real relationship between Ice Cube and Donald Trump?
The truth is nobody really knows.
Ice Cube says he has never met Donald Trump, unlike many in Hip-Hop that once swooned over the billionaire, but that does not tell the whole story. According to Politico, Ice Cube did meet with Team Trump for a “three-hour meeting near the White House” with Trump with son-in-law Jared Kushner and other members of the president’s advisors. (The truthfulness of this report has been independently verified by AllHipHop.)
Cube’s long-term business partner Jeff Kwatinetz held court with Trump’s crew in a separate meeting. Kwatinetz, a Jewish man (important since Cube has been accused of being anti-Semitic), has deep Hollywood roots and also has built the basketball The Big 3 with his gangsta counterpart. Kwatinetz, 55, has another major distinction: he is a friend of and former business partner with Steve Bannon. Bannon is the 66-year old disgraced former banker, former political strategist, former executive chairman of Breitbart News, and chief strategist Donald Trump’s administration. Kwatinetz vigorously defended Bannon from his detractors to the Hollywood Reporter in 2017.
Trump’s team is moving in the most clandestine way to solicit support from “alpha” Black male celebrities and AllHipHop has verified a number of them, which have requested anonymity. Furthermore, like Ice Cube, these artists outwardly have opposed Donald Trump. Tip “T.I.” Harris, a rap mogul in Atlanta, flat out refused to meet with Trump. 45’s minions have approached rap artists with considerably less notoriety, but still highly influential to the audience. Some of these men are getting cash offers and others are gaining potential favor in other ways, which has been the rumor with Cube.
A source with AllHipHop with loose ties to Jared Kushner charges that Cube’s “help” was an exchange to aid with the Big 3 Basketball League, an assertion that has not been confirmed or denied by the rap mogul or anybody in his camp. But in 2018, when Cube’s scathing Trump diss “Arrest The President” dropped, The Big 3 team took out a full-page ad in the New York Times essentially asking for Trump’s help with a lawsuit with their investors. The ad said, “Hey President Trump, When you meet today with Putin’s new friend, the Emir of Qatar, please tell him not to threaten the BIG3 and American athletes!” Cube and Kwatinetz filed a $1.2 billion lawsuit for damages claiming Qatari investors welched on their deal. On top of it all, they charged, in legal docs, that alleged investor Ahmed Al-Rumaihi threatened Kwatinetz saying, “You don’t know who I know in L.A. and what they’re capable of! You should think of your safety and the safety of you and your family.”
It almost feels like Team Ice Cube needed a bigger gangster in the posse to match their business aspirations. Optics and perception matter like Black lives.
Kanye West, the original MAGA hat wearer, and Birthday Party leader 🥴, metaphorically sums up rappers who support President Trump. Most rappers, like 50 Cent, Bloc Boy J, and Waka Flocka, straight up flip-flop their support like a party-switching politician up for sale.
Most, like 50 Cent, Bloc Boy J, and Waka Flocka, straight up flip-flop their co-signs like a party-switching politician up for sale. 50 Cent says he passed on $500k from Trump and Kanye West affiliate Malik Yusef told this author he turned down $5 million. Lil Wayne got busted by the Feds with guns and drugs in December of 2019, but nothing p#### has come of the highly publicized case since. (“He got a pass,” one source said.) Criminal situations like that don’t just disappear without a trace. Ice Cube’s intentions may be pure or not, but there are far, far too many questions from the very community that the Contract he penned it meant to serve. Accountability matters.
Imagine Ice Cube going to the Trump table, Democratic table, or any table with a broad coalition of leaders in the Black Nation, a proverbial who’s who of Black excellence. (Better yet, imagine an actual table built by us for us with the leaders of our communities sitting at it. But, I digress.) Instead, the 51-year old rap vet went alone. He saw no value in an all-star Zoom call with VP candidate Kamala Harris either. Traditionally, artists were strengthened and empowered by a number of factors. First, they were typically students or followers of leaders or larger entities and were beholden to the people they served. Cube, for example, was once aligned with the Nation of Islam. Others, like KRS-One, was down with the late Civil Rights great Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) and X-Clan, the mouthpiece of The Blackwatch Movement, was related to Sonny Carson, the Brooklyn organizer/ activist. Education, political and otherwise, is paramount, but sorely missing when we are talking about most rap artists.
Nobody is above critique or reproach. The writer of this piece is a lifelong fan of Ice Cube and that has not changed. Kanye West and Lil Wayne, not so much. The AllHipHop Crew relentlessly played Raw Footage, Ice Cube’s eighth studio album, during our time at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. In the era of Trump, Black people are consistently gaslit, fragmented, disjointed, discombobulated, divided, bought off, and habitual victims of distract-and-conquer tactics through familiar vessels.
Trump hit the beehive and when all the bees came out to sting, all they saw was Ice Cube. Or Kanye. Or Lil Wayne.
Your life depends on it.