Hip-hop’s best and most powerful anti-Trump performances

Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest on stage at the 2017 Grammy Awards (Photo credit: Instagram – @recordingacademy)

For the first time since Election Day of 2016, there was a buzz of both anxiety and excitement across the country on Tuesday, June 20, as four different special election House races were being decided. The feelings of anticipation arose from the way that many political pundits and analysts characterized the highly competitive races in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina, and Virginia as referendums on Trump’s presidency. These special elections were held in deeply red districts, so if a Democrat would have won in any of these places, Congress and the White House would have perceived the races as rejections of Trump’s antics and policies.

Unfortunately, Democrats went 0-for-4 in these elections, leading Donald Trump and Republicans everywhere to celebrate the multiple political victories that will give him more backing in Congress and serve to bolster his political agenda.

However, for all the fans of sensible policy-making, affordable health care, and the making of a safer country to live in, Tuesday night was a big blow to morale. To bring it back up, here are four of the best live performances from last year that criticized Donald Trump directly, reminding us that even though we might face setbacks, it’s always important to make your voice heard and fight for what’s fair.

Vic Mensa performing “16 Shots” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”
Vic Mensa, Chicago South Side native, is always sure to include a highly politicized message with his music. Last summer, he released his EP There’s Alot Going On, with the song “16 Shots,” a sharp commentary on the history of police violence against African-American men. Here’s a jarring performance of “16 Shots” that Vic performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” just days before Election Day 2016.

Amine performing “Caroline” on “The Tonight Show”

This performance of “Caroline,” Amine’s breakout hit from last year, was his first ever television appearance and happened just days before Election Day 2016. For the performance, not only did he chose to use a live orchestra to recreate the song’s beat, but he also chose to use his platform that day to criticize then-candidate Donald Trump on his hateful rhetoric and messages, switching up the last part of the song from a playful verse to an anti-Trump manifesto.

Anderson .Paak, A Tribe Called Quest, Consequence, and Busta Rhymes at the 2017 Grammys
The live performance at the 2017 Grammys featuring Anderson .Paak, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, and Consequence was an unprecedented performance. Unapologetically political and pro-Black, Busta Rhymes received much attention after referring to Donald Trump as “president Agent Orange,” and the performance hit its peak when all six performers broke down a brick wall, emerging with Black Power fists while Q-Tip chanted “Resist! Resist! Resist!” The performance came as a surprise to many but ultimately was very well-received by artists and spectators alike.

Chance the Rapper and the Magnificent Coloring World Tour

From September to November, Chance the Rapper traveled from city to city on the Magnificent Coloring World Tour, his world tour in support of one of 2016’s best albums Coloring Book. On each leg of the tour, Chance performed every song on his album, but his element of political engagement actually occurred before each show. At each venue, before he took the stage, Chance displayed a phone number and email address that audience members could contact in order to register themselves to vote. And in November, to acknowledge the end of his tour as well the importance of the 2016 presidential election, he led and organized a march in his hometown of Chicago to the voting polls, then went on to finish the night by rewarding the city of Chicago with a free rooftop performance.

Ayo Aladesanmi

Georgia Tech student, music aficionado.

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