Amidst recent news about Donald Trump and the sacking of US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, the controversy adds to the significance of legendary rapper Ice Cube’s 2018 political rap track ‘Arrest The President’.
The former NWA member, released his tenth album, Everythang’s Corrupt, back in 2018 to critical appraise. ‘Arrest The President’ which was the second track off the album demonstrated Cube’s fueling disgust for the current United States President. The song is a politically charged observation towards the individuality of Donald Trump and current government under his administration. Not only is the song reminiscent of Cube’s NWA’s gansta rap ethos but the song’s lyricism proves to be more relevant a year later.
Understanding the Trump/US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer debacle
For someone like Donald Trump who has succumbed to egomaniacal narcissism during his tenure as President of the United States, he is of no exception of escaping the limelight. In recent news, tension between US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer and Trump have surfaced following the sacking and personal resignation of Spencer’s role as US Navy Secretary. Spencer’s resignation follows his handling of a Navy Seal case detailing Navy Seal Edward Gallager’s demotion for misconduct, performing illegal actions of posing for photos with a dead I.S soldier.
Donald Trump’s indirect action of demanding the reinstatement of Gallagher’s rank and pay grade after his court trial cleared him for murder was viewed on Twitter. Gallagher was accused of stabbing an unarmed 17-year-old Islamic State group prisoner to death and randomly shooting civilians while serving in Iraq in 2017.
Gallagher was acquitted of those charges and convicted only of the lesser charge of posing with the IS soldier’s corpse.
I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration’s…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2019
Commentators were quick to respond to Trump:
I think it’s shameful what you’re doing to our military. You’re treating them as if they are your little toy soldiers. You are destroying the military’s credibility.
— Cathalena Burch (@Starburch) November 25, 2019
He had a 'trophy' photo taken of himself next to a corpse, you imbecile. In what world is that acceptable?
— CivMilAir ✈ (@CivMilAir) November 24, 2019
Richard Spencer’s resignation letter supplied by NBC Politics which was uploaded on Twitter gives perspective into the dealings within the US Navy:
BREAKING: In extraordinary resignation letter, US Navy Sec. Spencer writes that "I no longer share the same understanding as the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline." https://t.co/d1VZb0fhpq pic.twitter.com/ifXQARZQQd
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) November 24, 2019
In Spencer’s letter, he takes aim at Trump, stating,
‘Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander-in-Chief who appointed me. In regards to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States’.
How Spencer’s resignation fuels Ice Cube’s revolutionary track ‘Arrest The President’
Ice Cube’s 2018 album Everythang’s Corrupt stands as a return for the rapper since his 2010’s I Am The West. More importantly it is more of a return to his anti-establishment roots as a rapper of the gangsta rap genre. Like Richard Spencer taking a stand against Trump, Ice Cube’s track ‘Arrest the President’ is inherently expressing his own observations about the Commander in Chief.
The song’s subject matter also champions the will to act and stand up against an authority that is unwillingly addressing critical social/political issues. Cube who was interviewed last year by Rolling Stone to discuss the song and album, said, “I just hate bullies, man. It’s time for the good people to take over. We’re not running from nothing. Bring it on.”
The song’s lyrics speak like poetry and establishes itself as an all out offensive against the ego that is Trump and his administration. Taking key excerpts from the song, it is these examples below that show Cube’s tenacity as a rapper who can deposit brutal and surreal images in the listener’s mind and shows how his lyricism proves to be more socially relevant a year on:
‘Arrest the president, you got the evidence
That n—a is Russian intelligence (Okay)
When it rains it pours
Did you know the new white was orange?
Boy, you’re showing your horns
They’re tryin’ to replace my halo with thorns’
‘While these devils, they doin’ way too much (Much)
Most of ’em won’t say too much
While they steady planin’? God knows what (God knows what)
That’s why I roll with the real ones
Real ones tryin’ to reach millions
Real ones tryin’ to make billions
Real ones dressed like civilians’
‘Let’s meet at the White House (Come on)
Run in and turn the lights out
Man, they treat it like a trap house (Yeah)
These motherfuckers never take the trash out (Damn)
They just cash out and mash out’
On the subject matter of Trumps ever ‘Impeachment’ and whether Trump would be locked up, Cube told Rolling Stone:
“I don’t think the president is going to jail. I just don’t think the country can stomach that embarrassment. There’s going to be some provision or something nobody knew about that they pull out they ass that says we can’t lock him up. But all these other people getting locked up, and that’s just a shame. The buck stops with the president. And I’m not hating on the man. I just don’t think he’s president material. It’s very embarrassing. He’s violating the country in a lot of ways. Every day it’s something. It’s just every day.”
The lyrics expressed in ‘Arrest The President’ shows Cube’s stance as an social activist and voice for the people. Cube’s vision is expressive about the prospect of good people willing to be more vocal about the evils happening in today’s world. The example given of Richard Spencer’s resignation demonstrates a literal representation in what is happening in Ice Cube’s politically charged song.
Cube, himself believes ‘I still think there’s way more good people in the world than bad people.’ It is people such as Spencer evoking Ice Cube’s emphasis on political and social justice that can inspire people to do the same.
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