Politics and rap have gone hand-in-hand for decades, but while the hip-hop legends of the past mostly poured their political views into their music, the stars of today are getting more and more interested in rolling up their sleeves and actually taking public office.
For me, the wave first swelled in 2011, when 2 Live Crew’s Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell ran for Mayor of Miami-Dade County. His platform included — among things like better public housing and public hospitals — a plan to tax strippers. He came in fourth in the race.
But let’s flash-forward to 2015. We’ve got 2 Chainz — who destroyed Nancy Grace in a debate about legalizing pot — considering a run for mayor in College Park, Georgia. We’ve got Killer Mike, who delivered an absolutely incredible speech at a Bernie Sanders rally earlier this week, running for state representative in Georgia’s 55th district. And then, most famously, we’ve got Kanye West, who stood up at the MTV VMAs over the summer and declared that he would be making a run for the White House in 2020.
Now another hip-hop veteran, who’s long since successfully transitioned into being one of the world’s biggest movie stars, might want a turn. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Will Smith — a rapper even your mom probably loves — said that American politics have basically pushed him to the edge, and that he may well consider stepping up to do something about it in the near future.
“I’m a climber, so if I see a mountain, I have to climb it. I’m not a camper; I don’t like hanging in one place too long,” Smith said. “So I think, at this point, I’m elevating my ability to be useful in the world. I think that that’s what my grandmother always hoped, that I would make myself useful to people in this lifetime. […] And, you know, as I look at the political landscape, I think that there might be a future out there for me. They might need me out there. This is the first year that I’ve been incensed to a level that I can’t sleep, you know? So I’m feeling that at some point, in the near future, I will have to lend my voice to the conversation in a somewhat different way.”
Smith didn’t specify where exactly he’d start with his political career, but it sounds like he’s about to go the Schwarzenegger route and go from movie star to name on the ballot. So get ready, because Fresh Prince 2020 could be a real thing.