The two selected videos – “My President” by Young Jeezy and “Obama Nation Part 2 by Lowkey” – show opposite views of Barack Obama’s presidency.
Young Jeezy demonstrates the feeling of hope Barack Obama gave black people in America when he ran for president. As Nas says in the song, “Our history, black history, no president ever did shit for me,” many black people felt like Washington did not care about their problems, and that a white president could not understand their struggle. Jay-Z explains this same feeling of hope in an advertisement supporting Obama saying, “When the president got in office initially, what he represented to a nation of kids (was) hope.” Jay-Z explains in the same manner as Nas that black people felt like the politics going on in the white house had no affect on them, until one of their own provided the hope of giving them a voice. It makes sense that someone like Jay-Z would endorse Obama, because as Tricia Rose mentioned in her lecture, Obama has aligned himself with mainstream rap, which Jay-Z is obviously a part of. However, I do not think that this takes any value away from the points Jay-Z makes about hope. After all, hope is different from commending the actions that Obama has taken.
The music video for the song shows crowds that consist of mainly black people, but white people as well, showing that Obama will bring hope to black people, but he will not abandon or forget about white people. The video also shows people holding signs with the names of historical, great world leaders. These signs imply that Obama is on the same pedestal as these great leaders, and that he is fulfilling the dream of someone like Martin Luther King Jr.
Lowkey demonstrates quite different views on Obama. He certainly does not commend Obama’s actions, rather he condemns them. M-1, a rapper featured on the song, expresses his views that Obama does not help the black community any more than a white president ever has or would saying “White power with a black face, he said fuck it I’ll do it / A master of disguise, expert of telling lies,” and calling Obama a “puppet.” All the lyrics in the song display a negative view on Obama, and the video includes a segment of a speech by Obama making a joke about drones that the artists in the song must not find funny. The video does more than lump Obama into a heap with the white presidents before him, it paints him as a villain, as demonstrated by the artists’ dismissive hand gestures when speaking about Obama. Tricia Rose might agree with the song’s ideas of Obama not fulfilling the promises he made in his first presidential campaign, but I doubt she would support their antagonism towards because she did say she planned on voting for Obama in the upcoming election.