*Now I will start off with a disclaimer. This list is not solely based off of music but rather political impact through various means whether on/off wax.
This list will of course be highly objectionable due to the fact we all have our own opinions, especially when it comes to music artists and politics. So I’m basing MY LIST off of recent events as well as previous happenings mainly because of the way Hip-Hop has evolved into such a mainstream product, its hard for artists to publicly display their own political feelings through music alone.
Bill Heinzleman compiled his list of the Top 11 Political Hip-Hop Artists which I feel is good yet he missed a few. And Biko with SOHH.com mentioned a few like Talib, and Mos Def which I feel appropriate but I want this to be MY LIST of 10** In no particular order.
Public Enemy– It goes without say the impact that Public Enemy’s socially conscience lyrics had/have on the hip hop community. Providing a voice for the urban community for years. As well as their community organizing efforts throughout the United States over the years.
TuPac– Besides the fact TuPac had ambitions of one day running for public office before his untimely death, he effectively used his words and lyrics through his national outlet of music to inform urban communities of the various social injustice’s that exist outside of the “hood” that had such a drastic effect on the inner city communities.
Diddy– I know, I know….Lyrically there is nothing political about Diddy. Although it is unarguable that the effect of the “Vote or Die” campaign Diddy spearheaded in 2004 was a huge success registering over 20,000,000 new voters. Now in my book actions speak louder than words and his contribution politically whether lyrically or not had a huge impact.
Dead Prez– Pretty much a given, anybody that leaves them off a political hip-hop artist list needs to LEAVE THE ROOM!
Nas– His ability to include the strong foundation of a socially conscience message with the mainstream music that exists is unreal. I feel it is rivaled only by TuPac.
Chicago Trio**(Common, Kanye, Lupe) I wanted to stay true to the title and only include “10” but what the heck its my post so what the heck I create the rules…Since I’m from CHICAGO although well deserved I don’t want to clutter the list with my hometown bias.
Immortal Technique– I must admit, I’ve never been a huge fan, but nearly 100% of the music I’ve listened to has been politically inspired. I feel that is extreme dedication to the cause and has to get my vote in my top 10.
KRS-ONE- A pioneer of rap in general coming from the era where hip hop generally meant something on all levels, KRS-One has pretty much branded himself as an OFFICIAL lyricist for social justice.
David Banner– Throughout this 2008 election David Banner has been the supreme advocate for political awareness not only for hip-hop artists, but for the hip-hop community as a whole.
Ice Cube(N.W.A)- Ice Cube wasn’t necessarily a political rapper from the standpoint of having a direct opinion communicated through his lyrics. He did represent a voice for communities that seemed to be adversely affected by the political agendas of the time.