We don't have a single hip hop artist in this country powerful enough to even marginally influence the Canadian election. Hell, do we have any cultural figure that has a voice powerful enough to have a good/bad/ugly impact on the polls?
Honestly, think about it. How disconnected is our political process from modern Canadian culture? Could any Canuck artist have had a legitimate chance of influencing the dialogue of our lackluster candidates?
Whether it was Neil Young or Sam Roberts or Avril Lavigne or even my good friends Maestro Fresh Wes and Buck 65, I can't imagine that our political system would be as involved, engaging or inevitably predetermined as much as our southern neighbor's power-trip circus is, and I can't imagine any of our artists having enough cultural clout to seriously sway the electorate's thought process, even for a split second. And that's a god damned shame.
Imagine if Kardinal Offishall did something really dangerous, like spouting off angry patois at the Conservative Party's excruciating border entry policy and inspiring a protest against the notoriously, unrepentantly unfair border patrol? Would the event even be in the news two days after? Highly doubtful. (Unless the power of the people influenced the government to change their tune, and that's even more doubtful. This is not South Africa.)
What if k-naan made a song exposing the hypocrisy and incompleteness of Stephane Dion's approach to immigration and multiculturalism?
What if k-os started a joyful rebellion against Jack Layton for not making Aboriginal civil rights a higher priority?
Can you imagine the reaction if Eternia confronted Elizabeth May for her haphazardly unappealing approach to fighting for inclusion in the national political debates?
Would the politicians even respond to artists demands to be more immediately accessible and responsible? Definitely questionable.
But in America, it's a whole different story, written in a whole different language, published by a whole different propaganda pusher. Rising Hollywood thespian Christopher Bridges, also known as Ludacris of Def Jam Records, notoriously caused a kerfuffle with the Obama camp a few months back when he released his pro-Obama single Politics, a song that delighted in sending more than a few low blows to the nether-regions of the Republican party's once-virginal genitalia (ah, remember those days when W. Bush Jr. was supposed to restore dignity and poise to the tarnished White House? I'll take Monica Lewinsky and a tainted dress scandal over the insanity that surrounds Sgt. Gwen Beberg and her precious Iraq puppy anyday. But I digress.)
Shawn Jay-Z Carter, hip hop multi-millionaire and entrepreneur extraordinaire, has sparsely expressed his support of Obama in a variety of ways this year: strategically endorsing the Hawaiian hopeful on his Heart of the City tour with full-screen backdrops of Obama, as well as recently releasing his most direct co-signing in the video above, it seems like he's doing as much as he can to use his influence.
And the support seems to go both ways.
Obama's legendary usage of the Jay-Z gesture of "brushing your shoulders off" to dismiss some baseless accusations by former rival Hillary Clinton doesn't hurt in the "one powerful hand washes the other" category.
Neither does having some Jay-Hova music on your iPod, as Obama proudly proclaimed.
What Canadian musicians do Stephen Harper listen to?
Things that make you go hmmm...