Here at 4080, we’re known for occasionally exploring the relationship between hip-hop and social change. Normally, the intersection of those things lies on the left side of the political spectrum. The list of emcees rapping about eradicating poverty, combating racism and even revolution is long and distinguished. It’s a tradition that stems back to hip-hop’s earliest days, and is the source of some of the genre’s most critically-acclaimed (if not always best-selling) releases.
So it was interesting to read about Hi Caliber, a rapper from New Jersey, who raps from a conservative perspective. More specifically, he identifies with the tea party movement, and his rhymes espouse its principles. As he told Talking Points Memo, “I support the tea party movement because I feel they are the only people in the America who are not following lock-step, rank-and-file one of the political parties.” Hi Cal (as I call him) is also “especially” opposed to the bank and auto industry bailouts.
His music isn’t absolutely terrible. Technically, his rhymes are no worse than a lot of other mediocre rappers’, and his lyrics will keep you interested. Check out “Patriot People:”
To be sure, I am diametrically opposed to nearly all of his political views. And I think it’s hilarious that he’s missed the obvious irony of telling a political movement to wave their hands around “like they just don’t care.” But I suppose it would also be hypocritical to deride someone for using music to express their deeply-held beliefs, since we encourage it so enthusiastically elsewhere. Ultimately, Hi Caliber is more evidence of hip-hop’s remarkable potential for affecting political change.