Donald Trump Is Just the Start. YG Is Ready To Take On the System.
With the Democratic National Convention well underway, the November arrival of America’s presidential election is nearing closer, and things are reaching a fever pitch. Many artists within the Hip-Hop community are taking to the studio and stage to record political messages for posterity, helping raise awareness and inspire entire movements. Rappers like Jay Z, Mistah F.A.B., and the D.O.C. have recently dropped records to reflect contemporary sociopolitical issues like police brutality, and Killer Mike has become the de facto leader of a socioeconomic movement in the culture. But it isn’t just the veterans who are lending their voices to the rhetoric. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Mac Miller dropped an anti-Trump record back in 2011 (simply titled “Donald Trump”), and that foresight brought him back into the political conversation last year.
Most recently, Compton, California’s YG has made his opinions known on “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump) Part 2,” which also features Macklemore and G-Eazy. Part one – featuring Nipsey Hussle – is featured on YG’s most recent LP, Still Brazy and was featured in a live performance from the two on a recent episode of “The Nightly Show.” But as he proved with the song’s rebooted version, there was plenty left to say and now that the song has made the rounds, YG has expounded upon its meaning, what he hopes to accomplish through his music, and whether there’s more “FDT” to come. In a new interview with Vice’s “i-D,” the Bompton representative outlines his plans to continue standing up, speaking out, and moving forward.
“It’s so much bigger than California,” he says of the unlikeliness that Donald Trump will carry YG’s homestate in the election. ” Referring to the creation of “FTD,” YG shares “I was like, ‘I’m gonna say something and use my platform for something real.’ That was my first time making a meaningful record; I usually do the turn ups. But that shit had a real impact.” He further acknowledges how his body of work hasn’t always leaned towards the political, saying “Motherfuckers are talking about drugs and parties and guns and shit. But they gotta know there’s more shit going on. We gotta say something, cause if not, it’s like we’re out here standing for nothing, like we ain’t got no morals. That ain’t what it is. That ain’t me. So I decided to speak up.”
In enlisting Macklemore and G-Eazy for “FDT Part 2,” YG says he was looking to further the impact made by the song’s original version. “They’re the two biggest white rappers in the game! I’m like, if I get two of the biggest white rap dudes in the game on this ‘Fuck Donald Trump’ record, that shit is gonna mean something.” And in what appears to be the second part of a longer series, “FDT Part 2” could just be the beginning, according to YG. “I labeled it ‘Part 2’ because a ‘Part 3’ or ‘Part 4’ could happen. I just gotta get off this tour and start putting some shit together!”
Beyond the song, YG has some additional statements about Donald Trump – and the system in which he has succeeded so much. When asked how he thinks folks can get involved in taking action against Trump and injustice, he has some powerful and introspective words to share. “We for sure have to come together, but we have got to find the real people that’s going to make a difference. A lot of certain people that just run this shit — it’s a crazy system behind the scenes. We’ve gotta figure out who’s behind the scenes, who will lead the people, and how we’re going to get to them. Black people are painted as beefing with each other and killing each other, and that’s why I think [police and politicians] think they can get away with so much shit — cause we do fucked up shit to our own kind.” Calling on his people to “come together” and take part in protests, he’s also hesitant to say that’s enough, and is eager for even more steps to be taken. “[W]hen we come together in protest, that really means something. It’s powerful. But, is that really going to make a difference with what’s going on? I don’t know, and that’s the truth. But it’s a start.”
Donald Trump, however, is not YG’s only focus, and his work outside of the booth is also having serious impact. As i-D’s Emily Manning writes in her introduction, “On Twitter, [YG is] inspiring conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement and boosting local politicians like Compton Mayor Aja Brown and State Senator Isaac Galvan. He’s also established a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering Compton’s disadvantaged youth.” That non-profit, called 4Hundred Waze, describes itself on its website as a means to “enhance the lives of disadvantaged youth who are a part of the foster care/group home system by providing growth and development in the areas of science, technology, education, and math (STEM).” In his interview with Manning, YG describes the nascent organization’s goals in his own words. “We’re doing a lot of small stuff right now because we’re building it up, but we’ve got plans to put kids through colleges and help with cancer diagnoses.”
YG is currently wrapping up the closing leg of the Endless Summer Tour with G-Eazy, Logic, Yo Gotti, and special guests. For more information on the remaining cities with tickets available, click here to visit YG’s official website.