With the most important election ever less than a week away, people from all walks of life have come together in support of Barack Obama. The hip hop community in particular has banded together in support of the Democratic nominee. Dj Green Lantern has put together mixtapes by Nas and Royce da 5’9″ this year, so who better to assemble some of hip hop’s best for the “Yes We Can” mixtape?The mixtape contains tracks by some of hip hop’s young lions including: Charles Hamilton, Rhymefest, Wale’, and Joell Ortiz. They are joined by heavyweights like David Banner, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes, Nas, and Kanye West. Even John Mayer pops up on a song.
Sprinkled throughout the tape are sound bites of Obama, Jay Z, Oprah Winfrey, and Russell Simmons. While those clips talk about Obama’s ability to change the world, at one point in the mixtape, a series of George Bush clips fully illustrate the innate stupidity of the last eight years.
There is a great deal of cohesion in this mixtape, maybe more so than in a typical album. There aren’t a lot of original beats on the mixtape, and about half of it contains speeches and interviews, but that is a part of what makes this mixtape important. Barack Obama’s message is captured completely in this mixtape.
The highlights of the mixtape include “Letter to Obama”, “Black President Remix (part 2)”, and “Promised Land”. The truth is that there is really no way to choose which song is a standout beyond personal preference. My favorite track would have to be “Letter to Obama”. Ortiz spins a verbal tale depicting his upbringing in Brooklyn, as well as scathing criticism of rappers’ misuse of their wealth.
Never before has the hip hop community untied the way they have for this mixtape. Most rappers are rallying against McCain since he was initially opposed to the national MLK holiday in Arizona. I won’t discuss my political views in this review, but I will end this by quoting Angie Martinez,” Yes we can live in a time where our presidential candidates will need a mixtape.” McCain, step your mixtape game up!