The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) recently published a Top 21 conservative hip hop songs list. Which means that a bunch of dumb shit followed. In addition to having a bit of a questionable definition of what rap is, most of the article is about picking lines out of context, ignoring the artist and any inconvenient lines, projecting things on to songs that aren't there, getting songs totally wrong or endorsing things that either conservatives generally don't like or that are just plain wrong. Here's their list, with my comments:
21. Justin Bieber featuring Busta Rhymes – Drummer Boy (2011)
Important update for AEI: Justin Bieber is not rap.
20. 2pac – Keep Ya Head Up (1993)
Maybe the most feminist rap song by a major artist in history, it's also pro-welfare and calls for spending money to feed the poor and not on wars.
19. Eminem – Role Model (1999)
Among the advice that the song gives people: rip out women's tonsils, smoke weed, take pills, drop outta school, kill people, drink and drive, slap women, eat shrooms, kill Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, destroy the ozone, defile corpses, hit your mother over the head with a shovel, have sex with women with HIV, and tie a rope around your penis and jump from a tree.
18. Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg – Still D.R.E. (1999)
Highlights of the song: Smoking weed, got love for the streets, representing for the gangsters all across the world, smoking weed, smoking weed, seeing young blacks get money, getting mothers out of the hood, smoking some weed.
17. Cidinho e Doca – Rap das Armas (2007)
The song is Brazilian and the moron author of the article talks about how the song deals with "Second-Amendment solutions." Does he not realize that Brazil doesn't have a Second Amendment about guns?
16. Nas – I Can (2003)
Nas wrote a song about black empowerment and black history because no one else was talking about these things. Conservatives oppose black empowerment and teaching black history at any opportunity they can. The writer also implies here that success and staying off drugs are conservative things and that liberals do the opposite of that.
15. Wyclef Jean – Perfect Gentleman (2001)
"This one's goin' out to the strip joints." That's how Wyclef starts the song, then he says: strippers aren't hoes and he fell in love with a stripper.
14. Jay-Z featuring Beanie Sigel — Where Have You Been? (2000)
Jay-Z is famously close to Barack Obama, but is pretty public about being further to the left than the president and the Democrats. The song is about the responsibilities fathers have to their children. There is literally nothing in the song that either political side could disagree with on the topic. The implication is, though, that only conservatives actually believe this and that liberals and rappers (or even black people) don't.
13. Eminem featuring Dr. Dre – Guilty Conscience (1999)
The author embraces this song as conservative because it's a morality play that shows how the song's characters struggle with right and wrong and ultimately embrace right. Except that the last line of the song erases all that and the narrator becomes a murderer over the fact that his girlfriend cheated on him.
12. 2pac – Brenda Got A Baby (1991)
The whole point of the song is to show that the community failed Brenda. Conservatives totally oppose that concept and say that there should be no collective responsibility for negative social trends like those Brenda faces. The author also extrapolates, falsely, that 2pac is saying that government programs can't work, when in reality he's criticizing them for not working when they should work--something that is 100% the fault of conservatives.
11. Bone, Thugs ‘n’ Harmony – Tha Crossroads (1997)
The author claims the tribute to Eazy-E and other fallen friends and family is a conservative song because the group is religious. That falsely assumes that non-conservatives aren't religious. More importantly the song laments the deaths of people who died from AIDS and guns, prevention efforts for these problems have long been fought by conservatives.
10. Kanye West – Jesus Walks (2004)
Again, the author assumes that religious equals conservative, which is nonsense. That also oversimplifies the song and leaves out the fact that many of the references in the song are anti-conservative. Kanye laments racism and police brutality and is pro-teacher. It also criticizes conservative-owned radio stations for only wanting to play rap songs that fit racist stereotypes. The author also misreads Kanye's line about the "victims of welfare" as being a criticism of welfare in general as opposed to a criticism of underfunded and hamstrung welfare programs as put in place by conservatives.
9. Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) (1998)
A strongly feminist song that the author seems to think is about abstinence (even though it says no such thing, it just says that women should be more selective with who they sleep with). It calls for women to only have sex with men who respect them. It also oppose assimilation, materialism, men fronting with guns, domestic violence and calls for men to not act macho.
8. Warren G featuring Nate Dogg – Regulate (1994)
Hilariously, it seems that this song is about "rampant government expansion" and "property rights," as opposed to being about what happens in government-free zones like the inner cities where racial segregation leads to poverty, violence and lawlessness. The song explicitly says if someone tries to steal your watch, it's okay to kill them and their friends. The song is also about random sex with strangers and smoking weed.
7. Lauryn Hill featuring Carlos Santana – To Zion (1998)
The idea that its a conservative value not to have an abortion so you can be a famous rapper is a really stupid idea.
6. Jay-Z – 99 Problems (2004)
The author says this song is conservative because at the end of the song the drug dealer gets away because the cop couldn't search his car because he didn't have probable cause. He says the song is about rule of law because the cop explicitly tried to violate rule of law because the dealer was black. And, of course, the author ignores the racism that Jay-Z is criticizing and the fact that Jigga is pointing out severe problems with the way the war on drugs is conducted.
5. 2Pac – Dear Mama (1995)
Only a conservative would think that a song that celebrates a revolutionary member of the Black Panthers was somehow conservative. The song explicitly criticizes the way that welfare and minimum-wage type jobs aren't sufficient to raise a family--things, once again, that are created and reinforced by conservatives.
4. Will Smith featuring Coko — Men In Black (1997)
The author says this is a song about criticizing unchecked government law enforcement agencies, something that conservatives universally seem to favor when Republicans are in power. Considering the song doesn't actually have any such criticism in it makes this explanation even more ridiculous.
3. Daddy Yankee – Gasolina (2004)
This is a typical dance song about partying, dancing and the high life. The author thinks that makes it about "drill baby drill" and fracking. I'm not kidding.
2. Jay Sean featuring Pitbull – I’m All Yours (2012)
If a song about falling in love is conservative because it has one anti-Castro line, then I guess this one is conservative.
1. The Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy (1994)
The author makes this out to be conservative in a Horatio Alger kind of way. The reality is that the song defends dealing drugs, smoking weed, the rise in power of black men, smoking weed, casual sex, smoking weed, dropping out of school, stereotyping of black men, and right-wing landlords.