The Big Hurt: The Obama jubilance debriefing

When celebrities celebrate, metaphors suffer
By DAVID THORPE  |  November 19, 2008

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Little trivia question for you guys: which beloved left-wing luminary was born in the early '60s to a white mother and a Kenyan father, called Chicago home, and graduated with honors from Harvard? The answer, of course, is TOM MORELLO of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. As he enthused to Spinner.com over his doppelgänger's victory: "I honestly thought I'd never live to see this day. Obama's election is a huge step toward civilization for a country whose past is so steeped in racism."

It's understandable that Morello, given his Obama-similar background and his reputation as one of rock and roll's most passionate political voices, would be pressed for comment on the election. I guess music journos are feeling a bit left out: the big-kid media get to gab about the new president all day, but the music press is supposed to go back to talking about the new JAMIE FOXX album? No fuckin' way. How about this, guys: let's spend a few weeks calling up every musician in the world ever and asking what they all think.

It's a particularly big deal for the hip-hop community; Obama is the first president in history to drop a HOVA reference in a campaign speech by way of a little hand-brushy motion, and rappers turned out in droves to support him. MTV reports he managed to lure some new faces to the polls; it's kind of surprising to hear that NAS, one of the sharpest dudes in the music industry, is a first-time voter in '08. Then again, Nas's political messages have often come from a wary place: "I'm out for presidents to represent me/(Say what?)/I'm out for dead presidents to represent me." Seems he's finally found a live one — he released an impromptu track called "Election Night" to celebrate the victory:

"We standing on line when we normally don't/People praying black people too lazy to vote/Rain, snow, and sleet/How many old folks been through Jim Crow, tears going down they cheeks."

For further heartwarmingness, consult new victory tracks from JAY-Z and COMMON and the one from devoted Obamaniac WILL.I.AM. BUSTA RHYMES wins best chorus: "We pop champagne for Barack's campaign." At this rate, we'll still be catching up with hot Obama celebration tracks well into the first months of the Palin presidency. (Ow, that hurt to write.)

One-man hip-hop think-tank JUELZ SANTANA, who famously confused the president-elect with a Mortal Kombat character last year ("Baraka Obama?"), also voted for the first time, as did the aforementioned Busta. Both men reported similar poll experiences: the fate of the nation resting on their shoulders, they froze up. "I looked at the booth for, like, 20 minutes," Busta told MTV News. "I couldn't go in there. I knew I was only gonna get one time to go in that booth and make the vote the right way." Said Juelz: "I had to ask the guy standing right there, 'What buttons do I press? Tell me what to press. I don't wanna be pressing the wrong things.' "

See, dudes? You could have put in a practice ballot for Kerry last time, then you'd be all awesome at voting when it really mattered.

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  Topics: Big Hurt , Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Nikolai Fraiture,  More more >
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