Pusha T has found a different kind of white girl to endorse this year in Hillary Clinton.
The prolific Virginia rapper, known for his endless lines about dealing cocaine, made his endorsement around a week ago. The Clinton campaign quickly publicized the endorsement by auctioning off a chance to meet Pusha, and that was that. In this election cycle, such an odd endorsement came and went, and despite Pusha’s controversial profile, no one made a big deal out of it, outside of several incredulous tweets.
Rappers have long said that their music is a reflection of their environment, that lyrics about guns and drugs are a natural response to the reality they live in and that they are telling a harsh truth. Pusha’s truths have been among the harshest. He pulls no punches in his songs, and his rhymes weave an intense tale of drug dealing and running from police, creating a larger-than-life image of himself. Pusha’s fans have accepted that his tales of drug dealing were a reflection of his tough upbringing and clearly the Clinton campaign has too, so I won’t address that here.
While it may seem strange that the Clinton campaign embraced Pusha, what’s even stranger is his decision to endorse Hillary. Bill Clinton greatly increased the prison population with the 1994 crime bill, and Hillary is on record calling black youth superpredators. These issues are particularly relevant to Pusha, who has spoken out against the current prison system and condemns police brutality in “Sunshine,” where he says “sworn to protect and serve, but who really got the power?” Even with Clinton’s recent about-face on these issues, it seems hypocritical of Pusha to endorse someone that is part of the establishment that he’s been rapping about evading and resisting for all these years.
But there is a method to the madness here. Pusha has a long history of engaging in community outreach and is on record saying that he supports Hillary as the only candidate that seriously
considers criminal justice reform. He’s also gone on record condemning Trump in song, saying “f— Donald and his pledge” on “Untouchable,” in regards to Trump’s planned wall. Faced with the option of a candidate that has publicly endorsed stop-and-frisk, forgiving Hillary for comments she made decades ago makes sense.
While Pusha T’s endorsement of Hillary might seem absurd on the surface, upon further examination of his songs and actions, his reasoning becomes clear. Hillary Clinton might not be an obvious choice for police reform, but she is far better than Trump. For someone that wants change now, the choice is clear.
Chastain-Howley is a rhetoric and writing junior from Dallas.