Hip-hop duo Run the Jewels has recently risen to prominence with a focus on politically charged lyrics and energetic instrumentals. Their unique call-and-response style and lively shows have garnered a large audience. The duo has been explicit in their criticism of President Trump’s administration and the state of the American government in general. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, they went so far as to support Jay Z after the rapper was attacked by the President on Twitter.
Specifically, Trump criticized Jay after the latter asserted that Mr. Trump was ignoring the lived reality of Black American poverty. Trump argued that black unemployment is at the lowest levels ever recorded, claiming that Jay-Z was ignorant of his policies. President Trump’s short tenure has been plagued by dismally low approval ratings. The former reality star and real estate mogul has frequently used social media to call out pop culture figures who have doubted his leadership as head of the executive branch.
El-P of Run the Jewels contested that Donald Trump is weaponizing statistics and sidestepping the real issues. His creative partner Killer Mike complimented Jay, calling him “the coolest rapper alive” and pointing to the severe socioeconomic issues that still exist for African-Americans living in the Trump era.
In a genre infamous for its Hatfield-and-McCoy-style feuds, it is still bizarre for a sitting president to openly address the comments of a hip-hop artist. It appears that Jay Z and Run the Jewels have become new components of the ongoing culture wars.