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Here's how rappers from Atlanta helped flip the White House. They're now aiming for the Senate.
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Here's how rappers from Atlanta helped flip the White House. They're now aiming for the Senate.

The move in Atlanta to turn the White House blue was energized by the city's hip hop and rap artists.

Image Source: Getty Images/Bernie Sanders Holds Press Conference With Activists In Chicago. (Photo by Joshua Lott)
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This past election cycle, the United States saw voter turnout unlike ever before. In Atlanta, the hip hop community can be thanked for that. Major rappers and hip hop icons came together in order to educate voters, get out the Democratic vote, and eventually fire Republican incumbent President Donald Trump from the White House. In the month of November, they organized like never seen before, hitting up barber shops and beauty salons, taking to Instagram and YouTube, and holding voter drives. Now, they are working together in order to flip the Republican-controlled Senate blue, CNN reports.

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"Minus the hip-hop involvement, we might have had a different outcome," Killer Mike, one half of Run the Jewels and a 20-year veteran of his hometown rap scene, said of this year's Presidential elections. "I don't know of one person in hip-hop who did not do something, from Migos to Lil Baby. I've seen everyone from our community take part in some way." The hip hop community's involvement shows that every vote does indeed count. Derrick Darby, a philosophy professor at Rutgers University, could not agree more. He studies the intersection of hip-hop and politics and co-hosts A Pod Called Quest, "a podcast taking on everything that people concerned about injustice care about."

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He stated, "What that means is in places like Atlanta, Georgia, and more broadly in places that were so closely contested, every single effort to get out the vote was absolutely essential for the outcome we got. Artists like Killer Mike, like T.I., Usher, Janelle Monae, they appreciate the celebrity platform and the duties of citizenship that require them to be engaged in using their platform to transform politics." Because of just how fierce the campaign was this election season, hip hop artists did everything they could. Among other initiatives, Big Boi of OutKast sent meals to hungry poll workers; Offset of Migos fed folks waiting in line to vote; 2 Chainz educated ex-convicts about their right to vote; T.I. let the organizers of a voter drive use his Trap Music Museu; and EarthGang and Janelle Monae joined Michelle Obama on the campaign run.

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Although President Donald Trump boasted about meetings with stalwarts like Ice Cube and Lil' Wayne, Atlanta's Jermaine Dupri, Monica and Ludacris all set out on the campaign trail with President-elect Joe Biden to get out the vote, particularly for efforts targeting Black voters in swing states. Of course, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams was supported by Jeezy and Gucci Mane; they lent her their stage (and street cred) for a message about the importance of voting on January 5. This is especially important as rap artists continue to drive efforts to flip the Senate. Dupri, a longtime active citizen, explained that this was not new to the city of Atlanta.

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"The whole us being a part of politics in this city, it's in our blood," he affirmed. "It's in the grass, in the dirt of the city. It feels like something we want to be a part of. We've been a part of trying to make it better for us for a long time." Artist T.I. agreed. He stated, "Our culture runs this city. We make this city go. You come here, our culture is going to take the lead, period. I can't think of anything, from the film and TV industry to real estate to sports, whatever it is, our culture runs this town, and it must be acknowledged if anyone wants to have any significant influence."

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