Odds & Ends

New Ludacris Song Attacks Obama's Critics

Rapper and Obama supporter Ludacris (aka Christopher Bridges) has released a new song called "Politics: Obama Is Here."

The lyrics champion Obama's groundbreaking campaign in a way that seems designed to create controversy:

So get off your ass, black people, it's time to get out and vote!
Paint the White House black and I'm sure that's got 'em terrified

Ludacris also attacks politicians who he thinks have "hated on" Obama — including Hillary Clinton, whom he discribes as an "irrelevant b*tch" and John McCain ("McCain don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed"), as well as Jesse Jackson and President Bush.

To put it mildly: heads are exploding in Chicago and the right-wing blogs are having a field day.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton issued this rapid-fire response:

As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn't want his daughters or any children exposed to. This song is not only outrageously offensive to Senator Clinton, Reverend Jackson, Senator McCain, and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics.

Ludacris and Obama have a history. They met privately in 2006 to discuss AIDS awareness, and Obama recently told Rolling Stone that he has Ludacris songs on his iPod and considers the rapper a "great talent and businessman" — a compliment Ludacris cites in the song.

Maybe he'll be Obama's next baggage-laden friend on the RNC's BarackBook.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.


-immortal Technique

Sent by Jody Sol | 5:31 PM | 7-30-2008

Can spectators just let it go? Can we just focused on the issues for which the two candidates stand for and leave the rest of the negative crap where it belongs...In the trash of the beholder.

Sent by Debi Chisem | 11:17 AM | 7-31-2008

I am a 37 year old Black woman and lover of Hip Hop music. I'm trying to figure out what this has to do with Obama. Toby Kieth's 9-11 ditty was his business and his artistic (albeit knee-jerk and reactionary) expression.

I've heard Obama mentioned in a 3-6 Mafia song, and a Young Jeezy song as well.

Both of those m.c.'s have problematic lyrics, but that's their prerogative. What I'm saying is what does this have to do with the issues?

President Bush didn't consult with Toby Kieth on military strategy, and Obama is not texting Ludacris to see which shade of black they're going to paint the white house.

Sent by Treasure Williams | 11:17 AM | 7-31-2008

Since when has Ludacris or any entertainer become the spokesman for a nation? He is an artist and like any artist his expressions come from within and he has to right to say what compels him as an artist. But he is also an entertainer and and since in Neil Postman's words Americans are Entertaining themselves to death, this is just another trivial distraction that the public feeds off of to add a facsimile of substance to their lives. It's embarrassing really that we live in a country we're people have lost the ability to think for themselves, to process critically the information that is all arounds us. We're like pirahnas who frenzy at the first sign of fresh meat. Look deeper people and stop evading yourselves!!!

Sent by Andrea Roach- Boston | 11:21 AM | 7-31-2008

Yeah, it's a rap song. The only reason a fraction of Americans would know anything about this song and it's lyrics is because of the media. I enjoy hip-hop/rap music, but I do not live my life by it, and this song will certainly not affect a vast majority of the voting public.

He can rap all he wants, but like Chris Rock said "As long as beat is hot, people don't care what you're rappin' about!"

Sent by Jeff L. | 11:45 AM | 7-31-2008

Says it just like it is.
Truth hearts.

Sent by Mas | 11:46 AM | 7-31-2008

I don't understand these people who claim to come out on behalf of Obama but end up only feeding the controvery against him. Have we learned nothing from Obama's campaign. He's not about hating or slandering other people. You have a right to your songs Ludicrous but you could never speak for Obama because he would NEVER do that....if you want to support Obama try doing something positive like donating to a school or volunteering...then you can claim that it's for Obama....

Sent by Rebecca | 11:57 AM | 7-31-2008

Never thought I would see an Immortal Technique quote on an NPR page. HA. But the man is right...

Sent by Hogan | 12:11 PM | 7-31-2008

"Ludacris also attacks politicians who he thinks have "hated on" Obama -- including Hillary Clinton, whom he discribes as an "irrelevant b*tch" and John McCain ("McCain don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed"), as well as Jesse Jackson and President Bush."

Not voting for Obama because you disagree with his policies is called hate, and yet this man is using a common street profanity to refer to a U.S. senator, and makes a joke about paralysis toward John McCain. And that's not hate?

Why is this man and his childish (not to mention vulgar) views being given air time on NPR?

Sent by Maureen Cruz | 12:17 PM | 7-31-2008

Freedom of speech carries with it a responsibility to do no harm to the often fragile social fabric. Any "support" for Obama should be careful not to undermine his efforts.

Sent by Patience | 12:22 PM | 7-31-2008



Sent by Garbonzo | 12:29 PM | 7-31-2008

No one need be "terrified" of blacks, as Ludacris envisions, but personally, I am terrified of ignorance. It seems for any good points that this rap song delivers, it embraces the same stereo type message that breeds separation.

Sent by Mary E Hayes | 12:57 PM | 7-31-2008

Why is this rant any more newsworthy than any of the millions of rants by "talented businessmen" in bars, bistros and country club houses across the nation.

Sent by Thomas C Oss | 1:11 PM | 7-31-2008

two points: calling a woman the "B" word is roughly equivalent to calling a black person the "N" word. Think not? The "B" word refers to a female dog. How much more dehumanizing can it get than that? But have you noticed that all Obama's "friends" keep making themselves look bad (jackson, wright etc.) and he always comes off looking better than before. Yeah, Ludacris, keep talking trash. Now we see what you're about: another 'artist' exploiting Obamas campaign to move product and stir up controversy. (yawn).

Sent by John R. Otten | 1:16 PM | 7-31-2008

Honestly, I don't understand why Rush Hudson Limbaugh III's racist song about Obama that he plays almost every day on his radio show isn't part of this story as a piece about the responsibility of the freedom of expression in pop culture. And for all those conservatives who listen to NPR and complain about liberal spin, here is an example of NPR being critical about the left. Sorry guys and gals and Rush, NPR isn't a pinko conspiracy.

Sent by Pete | 1:29 PM | 7-31-2008

I think it is a good thing having talented musicians, singers, and poets such as Ludacris showing participation in the political process. On top that, passionately supporting a candidate. However even though he is an entertainer and artist only expressing himself, he should also take responsibility for the power he has in the public realm. Many people support Barack. Race, creed and ethnicity aside. To charge your position with angry, violent, divisive and outright disrepectful elements only maintains the status quo and feeds the stereotypes and boundaries that Barack is doing his best to eradicate. One might as well be on his opponents' side because that is not supporting him. It is only hurting him and his chances of winning and doing what he has to do for this country. You think even his hardcore supporters, white people included, will be motivated by such hate filled rhetoric. My message to Luda would be "Come on Ludacris, you're an ill M.C. but, if you must, use those skills to Boost Barack up instead of destroying him. Because this is what it is. Nobody wants to hear that. We're grown men and women and can express ourselves without stooping so low and to the height of ignorance and hate. That's not Barack Obama.

Sent by Santho | 1:45 PM | 7-31-2008

Sad but true, most black people, at least in the media, support Obama, because.... wait for it...
He's Black!... not because he's the best person, not because he's sure to save the planet....
and this crappy song is just more evidence of it. It's a shame, because if Obama really were
the best thing for this nation, we wouldn't need criminals singing or rapping about needing him.
We aren't voting for our favorite person, we SHOULD be voting for the BEST person for job
as president. And no, it isn't McCain either.... I'm just saying the truth.

Sent by Jonathan | 2:24 PM | 7-31-2008

From pastors to rappers, it's going to be Obama supporters that eventually screw this up for him! While their intentions may be good, their actions are too visceral and just flat out embarrassing! Again and again Obama has refused to stoop down to the level of slandering and bashing his opponents, yet his "fans" continue to bring him down anyway. Ludacris should have kept his personal reasons for supporting Obama, well..peronal! If he really wanted to help he should have just wrote out a check. At this point he is doing more harm than good.

Sent by Joseph Vincent | 2:32 PM | 7-31-2008

We can't hold Obama responsible for the antics of politically wayward music artists.

Sent by dez | 2:54 PM | 7-31-2008

Unfortunately, today's population is influenced by "artists" who have the power of exposure, not necessarily brains. When a rap song expresses "painting the white house black" the "artist" continues to encourage a past that we will never be able to put behind us to go forward with "change". I have listened to rap and unfortunately, the more popular songs that were to enlighten me to the progressive style revealed violence, loathing, killing, a disregard for human kindness, vulgarity, and a self-centered empathy coupled with narcissitic behavior.
This is what we want our children to listen to and emulate? I prefer issues to associations to high-profile media characters, and perhaps one of the issues should be to lessen outrageous and anti-social behavior, especially hate whether black or white and get on with the healing of the country as one. Ludacris, while an "artist" and has a right to free speech, is no doubt a part of the problem and not a solution.

Sent by Randy S | 2:58 PM | 7-31-2008

Why is it that every black person who says Obama's name in public in a way that "doesnt lift him up" a troubled friend of his? Black people are not a unified group of people... we do not all think and feel and live the same... we are not obligated to make sure Barack wins the Novemeber election!@@!!@@ We are not some kind of unique extended family... Do any of the various white characters commenting on (with or agaisnt) any given white politican and/or presidental candidate bear the weight "sticking together for the cause"? what is going on here....

Sent by fran | 2:58 PM | 7-31-2008


It's America he's talking about. Work that brain!

Sent by Jody Sol | 3:23 PM | 7-31-2008

I second the WOW of seeing an immortal technique quote on the npr page. I love npr. - and the people who listen to it.

Ludacris is just what his name is. nice guy, but falls short...but thats what happens when you cater the masses, Quantity over quality.

in the words of NAS - hip hop (on the radio) is dead.

Sent by Sean Kinshella | 3:43 PM | 7-31-2008

all these democrats are out of touch with society. i'm a dem but cmon luda shut the F up. dont you see america dont wanna hear this? this is why obama is gonna lose in Nov ---- thanks for shutting out hillary people now you've lost another election

Sent by Jabber Jaw | 3:56 PM | 7-31-2008

I take this song as it should be - entertainment. I think it is hillarious. Ludacris is awesome for putting this song out. What a wonderful country we live in that he can do that. Thank you bill of rights.

Sent by Stacie | 4:31 PM | 7-31-2008

Maybe we as people need to go back and read, "The Willie Lynch Letter And The Making Of A Slave" from 1712 and the "Souls of Black Folks." Why would our own people want to publicly castrate the first democratic presidential candidate of color? The demons and damage of slaverly still runs deep in our veins.

Please... If you don't have anything good to say then keep your mouth shut!
Obama did not ask you to speak, sing, rap or preach for him. You can certainly pray and vote for him.

Sent by DM | 4:32 PM | 7-31-2008

@Andrea Roach- Boston
"Since when has Ludacris or any entertainer become the spokesman for a nation?"

For a history lesson, see Fela Kuti and Bob Marley.

Sent by Eric from Tucson | 4:32 PM | 7-31-2008

Notice to all black artists, politicians, social commentators, clergy and the like, Please Stop Helping

Sent by cgreeney | 4:35 PM | 7-31-2008

Where's the respect? Barak Obama deserves respect, and genuine, serious supportive backing. He is courageously upholding long-overlooked values and principles, and is running for President of the United States! Every one of us should be seriously considering doing all that we possibly can to back him up and help get him elected, because he truly does represent the dire need we all have for positive change, for hope, for progress, which we desperately need in the United States.

Sent by Trena Gravem | 4:51 PM | 7-31-2008

I'm a fan of Ludacris, but this is the a really dumb and ignorant thing to distract from the issues and giving all the haters fuel for the fire. Luda, do us all a favor and SHUT THE H@LL UP!

Sent by Tony | 4:52 PM | 7-31-2008

I too belive it is long past time for a person of non anglo color to be Pres.. Citizens are to complecent and really need a wakeup call or we all lose.

Sent by MDA | 4:52 PM | 7-31-2008

Ludacris is using his artist role linked to 2008 election to gain personal benefits. It is very rude and improper.

Sent by Virginia | 5:25 PM | 7-31-2008

I hope it hurts Obama, because I consider him a racist, and a joke that we are even considering him as candidate seriously. It also shows the blatant racism and ignorance of Black people especially in the (c)rap music industry.

Sent by Don | 5:43 PM | 7-31-2008

We need sum chocalate in the WHITE HOUSE!! Who cares if white, black, latino, or anyone else is unconfortable with it. The Ludicrus song should be the OBAMA campaign song! Let's bring them to there knees! Out with the old, in with the new. YES WE CAN!!!!

Sent by qoph29 | 6:08 PM | 7-31-2008

"I too belive (sic) it is long past time for a person of non anglo (sic) color to be Pres.."

Really? Really? You are really going to make your decision for president based on race? That IS racism you know.

Sent by Jody Sol | 6:24 PM | 7-31-2008

The lyrics are vulgar--the precise oppposite of Senator Obama

Sent by Sandra Whaley | 6:40 PM | 7-31-2008

Mechelle wrapped up her piece with words something like this: "Aside from the offensive lyrics,..."

As a fan of Mechelle, and of Chris, and of Senator Obama, I was instantly offended. It's one thing for the campaign to call the lyrics ofensive. It's entirely another for Mechelle to say this. The lyrics didn't offend me; they tickled me. Mechelle's role is not to legitimate a cultural definition like this.

Objectively, the lyric was not offensive. Subjectively, to some people, for purposes of political propoganda, it was labeled offensive. To others, it was poetic truth.

I'm sure you get the point, so I won't rant on. I still like Mechelle, and think it was more a slip than a plot; just meaning to keep you honest.

Sent by davy B | 7:32 PM | 7-31-2008

Ludacris' rap is his art and his voice. Regardless of whether it offends, if he can't express it, what's the point of an election anyway? After all, each of us has an opinion at the water cooler - and our individual reasons (real or delusional) for choosing our political candidates vary greatly. He has no obligation to consult anyone involved with the campaigns before releasing his music; nor does Obama have an obligation to consult him on policy. If you don't like it, turn it off.

Sent by Bethany | 7:37 PM | 7-31-2008

As much as I like rap/hip hop and reserve the right for anyone to say anything, especially in a song, Ludacris is not helping Obama any by this divisive song. It's almost as if the Right goaded Lud on, knowing it would force Obama into an uncomfortable position.

Look, the Right is attacking and using enough hate tactics to cover this campaign from here til Sunday. We don't need folks in our own camp making it only more difficult for our candidate to get in. C'mon now, Lud!

By the way, I didn't vote for Clinton but it really burns me when people call her a b@tch. That's like calling Obama a n****r.

Sent by Katy Murta | 7:40 PM | 7-31-2008

Whatever the reason, more people than ever, no matter what race or ethnicity, are going to vote for the next president of the united states...barack obama.

the more media coverage and controversy, the better in my opinion, because, more people will know about it and start giving a crap about politics. Kudos to all of you leaving blogs...The world really is flat...

Sent by Joe Page | 7:43 PM | 7-31-2008

I say take the high road. How about an Obama music video that celebrate the candidate without dissing the opponents, and features kids and dogs.

Sent by Doug Plavin | 8:23 PM | 7-31-2008

Sorry guys, I don't think this counts as news. It's a rap song. This is only getting attention because the lyrics have Obama's name in it.

There are way more controversial "songs" (not just rap) out there than this.

Now if Obama himself wrote and recited it, then it would be something worth talking about..

Nice try though. Next time you may want to find something positive to report on about either candidate.

Sent by Keith | 9:20 PM | 7-31-2008

Just listened to the song. It was hilarious!!! ... but obviously irresponsible. I disapprove, reject, renounce, eject, bounce, neglect, trounce, and eradicate Ludacris!

Sent by gnatster | 9:38 PM | 7-31-2008

Obama should not be cavorting with rappers like Ludacris. His message in the song is hate-filed and divisive, as are most of the contents of his lyrics. Why is there a photo of Obama with this self-proclaimed thug? This will harm Obama in the long run. It's racism on the black side, and our country cannot tolerate a leader who associates with this kind of insensitive trashiness.

Sent by Robert Webre | 9:52 PM | 7-31-2008

"never should have hated
you never should've doubted him"

I always get the impression that black artists, columnists, etc. turn their support for Obama into an us (blacks) versus them (whites). Those lyrics make me feel that way, and they remind me, if I remember correctly, that many black Americans didn't support Obama when he first announced his candidacy. I believe they supported Hillary Clinton. ??

Sent by June | 9:53 PM | 7-31-2008

Ludicris is not "speeaking" for Obama. He is another Obama ally, who lacks character and whose values are indecent. Obama has too many supporters like this. William Ayers bombed the Pentagon and continues to advocate violence against YOUR government. Friend of Obama Lost(FOOL). Jeremiah Wright and Father Fleger convict the USA as the bad guy on every issue. FOOL. Obama is surrounded by FOOLs. Obama is a fool.

Sent by William Becker | 9:58 PM | 7-31-2008

If this character is an artist, then I'm a French poodle.

Sent by James | 11:05 PM | 7-31-2008

It has been said that religion and politics should be separate. I would add to that statement that politics and entertainment should be separate. Shows like the daily show and saturday night live are a venue to poke fun at politics. Music is a venue to express many aspects of life including politics. An author, a musician and even an actor cannot speak for the government. In regards to the recent election there is obviously a lot of tension amongst people of all races. We need to remember that whoever is elected is just a person and that we the people are the ultimate choice makers in this nation. Don't let fear be the determining factor in your vote.

Sent by Harley | 11:42 PM | 7-31-2008

This is just more proof that Obama's candidacy is absolutely RIDICULOUS. This is a hollywood stunt

Sent by Rambo | 11:53 PM | 7-31-2008

"Paint the White House Black", give a man credit. That's a Clinton song George that is. Listen to "Hey Man smell my finger" an album from the "Prophet of Funk". Guess you gotta to live in a, "Chocolate City" to know that (Listen to the same album}. I'm amazed the youngsters did not do research in their report. Please no more sound bites.

Sent by George Klepper | 12:08 AM | 8-1-2008

I studied the lyrics and listened carefully to the recording. I do not see what the problem is. There are nuances in the delivery, which make it humourous. I even found it mildly entertaining.

There is also a lot of truth in there as well.

Anyone who follows Gallup polls regularly knows McCain is leading the polls among white voters in the entire US. I bet a lot of these McCain supporters are racist.

Oh well, Obama is clearly favored by women, and is definitely the favorite of citizens with a post-graduate education. Easy to understand since he is clearly more intellectually gifted than McCain. Intellectuals like smart people - that's a no brainer (pardon the pun).

Sent by Casa Miami | 12:09 AM | 8-1-2008

Oh my Gosh ... people are in an uproar, because Ludacris says
Hillary Clinton is a b***h?
And she's irrelevant besides?

I am not sure that Americans can clearly prove that Ludacris is wrong. It all depends on your definition of irrelevant.

Sent by Casa Miami | 12:16 AM | 8-1-2008

8 years ago during the 2000 presidential campaign, the San Francisco Chronicle reported (Feb 18, 2000):

"'I hate the gooks,' McCain said yesterday in response to a question from reporters aboard his campaign bus. 'I will hate them as long as I live.'

McCain, a former Navy pilot who spent five years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, was questioned about the language because of a story last month in the Nation magazine reporting his continued use of the slur."
(retrieved on 7/31/08 from http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2000/02/18/MN32194.DTL)

Ludacris is merely a fellow citizen unaffiliated with the presidential race voicing his opinion. John McCain, on the other hand, wants to be the president of the U.S.. If McCain can repeatedly get away with this kind of awful racial slur and still be taken seriously as a presidential candidate, how in the world can there be scandal around Obama because of what his supporters are saying without his endorsement or even his knowledge?

Shouldn't we be focusing on the candidates themselves and stop wasting time with these red herrings over and over again?

Sent by Luci | 12:31 AM | 8-1-2008

Jody Sol & Garbanzo,

Actually... those lyrics are from a Harlem-based rapper named Immortal Techniques, off of his new album titled The 3rd World. And they are not about America.

IT is from Peru, and a lot of his songs deal with the crooked, puppet governments in many Latin American countries who are in bed with America.

NOW read the lyrics again, with any Latin American country with a US-propped-up dictator in mind.

Sent by KGC | 7:43 AM | 8-1-2008

Are we so self-absorbed as a nation that we are distracted by some guy's rap to the exclusion of the world events in which we are embroiled? Gotta love the prioritization.

Sent by Tim Rosenberry | 8:24 AM | 8-1-2008

Wow! If this election is hanging on the words of a Hip Hop Artist, WE ARE ALL DOOMED!!! Let's face it, either you are going to vote for the man (Republican, Democrat, or Ross Perot) or not. Im betting that you've already made up your mind. How many true fence sitters are out there, for real?

Sent by Avery | 9:08 AM | 8-1-2008

oooooo rappers saying scary things... i'm really worried about how much sway ludacris is going to have on this election. can we get some real news please??

Sent by MC stevo. | 9:09 AM | 8-1-2008

I loved it. Luda ia an artist. Artist do not explain or apologize.

Sent by Auntiefavoritegirl | 9:23 AM | 8-1-2008

So white America is afraid of a song that talks about painting the White House black. Why is this song any different from the George Clinton song in the 70's that made reference to that and "chocolate" cities? Give me a break the only thing that makes them really nervous is that unlike the 70's and 80's there is actually a chance that we will have a black President and that his prescence in the building will automatically taint it somehow.

As wonderful as it is for me, a black educator, to revel in that possibility; I am sure it is equally scary for someone white who woke up the day after he won the Iowa caucus and said "Uh oh" I think we are in trouble.

My advice get over it and enjoy the ride.

Sent by Cedric Bullard | 9:32 AM | 8-1-2008

first off. amazing to see immortal technique on the blog (am a huge fan). this song was absolutely retarded. first off it doesn't even rhyme. second, the lyrics don't really support obama or help the cause. luda needs to go back to the drawing board and write something good. or rather, he needs to get some skill.

Sent by d-money | 10:28 AM | 8-1-2008

This song does seem like it was a bit immature...er...amateur. However, the man has his opinion and he supports Obama, and he's a connection to the people that "get" him, so if he's trying to mobilize people, let the man try. I hope he does better than MoveOn.org did in '04.

Sent by dennyse v. | 12:11 PM | 8-1-2008

I agree that you guys should listen to the Rush show and all of his very racist and misogynistic comments. I cannot believe that main stream news is trying to sell themselves as "fair and balanced" and will talk about LUDA and not RUSH. I can only stomach a little of Rush's show at a time and it is shocking. It is equally shocking that NOONE talks about it!!!!! Voting for Obama because he is the best candidate.


Sent by Melissa | 12:24 PM | 8-1-2008

Obama has to be careful. Americans punish hubris!

Sent by casey | 1:44 PM | 8-1-2008


I'm pretty sure he's talking about America though. Is there a black president of Peru?

Sent by Jody Sol | 2:27 PM | 8-1-2008

Thany You Senator Obama for you rebuke of Ludacris's song. As a Black man I too believe we must affirmatively discourage, at every opportunity, the immature, selfish,obscene and criminal inclinations of our youth and others. We, as a society can do this much like a gardener does who continually pulls up the weeds from his field until its natural God given beauty can be seen and appreciated by all. This is certainly not genocide but rather positive reinforcement of the values we want to cultivate as a nation.

Sent by Lawrence Martin | 10:25 AM | 8-19-2008

Support comes from: