Barack Obama took a “tough love” message to African American youth, telling that finishing high school is a better route to success in life than an unlikely trip to the NBA or the top of the rap industry.
“You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Lil’ Wayne, but probably not, in which case you need to stay in school,” Obama, D-Ill., told a cheering crowd, brought to a standing ovation at a town hall meeting in Powder Springs, Georgia.
The presumptive Democratic nominee was speaking about high school drop out rates and the need for people to be committed to working hard in school so they can get a job after school.
As Karen notes below, Barack Obama crossed the pop culture/politics divide today by praising Lil’ Wayne’s rhyming ability at a campaign event in Powder Springs, Georgia. Before dismissing this development as trivia, consider that Lil’ Wayne is both the most acclaimed rapper of 2008 and one of the biggest pop culture figures in the nation, with a song, Lollipop, that is #2 on the Billboard charts four months after its release and an album that sold 423,000 copies on its first day in stores. Add to this the fact that Weezy, as he sometimes calls himself, is perfectly willing to rap about politics, albeit crudely.
Take the lyrics of Lollipop, the aforementioned song which, if you have not yet heard on the radio, then your children certainly have. As is the habit of most modern Hip Hop, it is a song of sexual conquest, with Lil’ Wayne boasting of his ability to attract women and enjoy their company. Not so interesting, you think? Check out this set of lyrical couplets:
I get her on top / She drop it like it’s hot
And when I’m at the bottom / She Hillary Rodham
In the song, these lines are meant as a compliment both to the girl in his bed and the former presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, whose take-charge, ready-from-day-one attitude the artist apparently admires. Of course, the precise context of the compliment is insulting to millions of Americans, but then the Lil’ Wayne oeuvre is not exactly sensitive to such considerations.