Really, Mr. Trump!? Kanye West was at Trump Tower on Tuesday to meet with the President-elect. The man who, earlier in his career, used a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser to insult the sitting president, saying ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people.’ A man who just recently was reported to have been in a mental institution. And a man who is notable for nothing except being constant tabloid fodder, but proclaims himself a ‘genius.’ Well, maybe Mr. Kanye and Mr. Trump do have more in common than meets the eye. But why would an ostensibly conservative Republican want to meet with some radical hip-hop star? The final paragraph of this article suggests Ivanka may have set it up –
After the election the rapper said he did not vote, but if he had it would have been for Mr. Trump. Ms. Kardashian supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election, attending fundraisers and posting selfies with the candidate on social media.
The visit with the eccentric international pop-star came soon after Mr. Trump canceled a press conference scheduled for Thursday, saying he was too busy organizing his cabinet.
After the exchange with the press, Mr. Trump and Mr. West shook hands and the president-elect told the rapper to “take care of himself” before returning back to the elevator in Trump tower with his daughter Ivanka Trump.
Donald Trump used to feel OK about rap music — or, at the very least, he used to present himself as someone who felt OK about rap music. He sort of had to. Trump was a participant in the New York new-money celebrity-glamor economy, which meant he moved in the same circles as plenty of people on rap’s A-list. When Puff Daddy launched his restaurant, Justin’s, in 1997, Trump showed up to the opening. When Trump launched a line of vodka in 2006, he got Busta Rhymes to perform at the launch party. Trump cast Lil Jon on two different seasons of Celebrity Apprentice; he was reportedly calling him “Uncle Tom” behind the scenes, but we didn’t know that at the time. And when Trump sat for his Comedy Central Roast in 2011, Snoop Dogg was one of the people roasting him. He sat there with a strange rictus grimace-smile on his face while Snoop said, “Now, I may not have half his paper, but I got twice the dick, and you can believe that.”
By that same token, rap music used to feel OK about Donald Trump, a tabloid figure who presented himself as a common man and who’d somehow become a billionaire while pushing his own image of moguldom. He had none of the snobby restraint of the white moneyed elite, and he showed off his money with a sort of fuck-you defiance that made him appealing, in a way, to plenty within the rap world. Rappin 4-Tay called himself “New Trump” in 1996. In 1998, E-40 rapped that he didn’t have chump change; he had Donald Trump change. That same year, Smif-N-Wessun and Raekwon recorded “Black Trump.” Jeezy in 2011: “Richest nigga in my hood, call me Donald Trump.” This type of thing kept going until Trump, when announcing his candidacy, made that speech where he called Mexican immigrants rapists. Up until that point, he was still a cartoonish dollar-sign in human form, a walking symbol of ostentatious wealth. Six months before that speech, after all, Rae Sremmurd released “Up Like Trump.” Talking about the song, Swae Lee said this to Complex: “I think Donald Trump is cool. I see him and I’m like, ‘That’s a cool motherfucker.’ He’s rich as fuck.” Slim Jxmmi added this: “He has a suit on on a boat.”
I can’t find the quote now, but I can remember seeing Method Man talking about Trump in an interview once, claiming that he liked Trump because Trump would just put up his big, ugly-ass buildings wherever and sneer at whoever was trying to stop him. Meth was sufficiently impressed that he somehow recruited Trump to record a skit for his 1998 album Tical 2000: Judgment Day.
Make of all this whatever one will, but this is a bizarre time we are living in. Kanye West is an American citizen, but celebrities have been granted de facto special privileges and rights in this nation for far too long now, and most of them without giving anything in return for their privileged status. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s high time we stop treating these spoiled brats like royalty. Stick to meeting with real power who have actually done something for the country, Mr. Trump. The veterans, first responders, so forth. The people who really matter. Oh well, at least none of the Kardashians were there …