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Political hip hop is a genre of hip hop music that formed in the mid-1980s. Political hip hop contains lyrics dealing with a rapper's political views. The most common form of political hip hop is socialist hip hop, however, the less popular democratic hip hop scene has had its impact on hip hop culture, as several American rappers identify as liberal or democratic. A lot of political hip hop tlaks about the legalization of marijuana, a huge controversy in the United States.

Forms and subgenres[]

Explicitly political hip hop is related to but distinct from conscious hip hop because it refers to artists who have strong and overt political affiliations and agendas, as opposed to the more generalized social commentary typical of conscious hip hop. It can also be used to include political artists of all ideological stripes, whereas the term conscious hip hop generally implies a broadly leftist affiliation or outlook.


Anarchism is relevant in hip hop culture. Like Marxist hip hop, class struggle and anti-imperialism are major themes in anarchist hip hop music along with anti-parliamentarianism and a strong emphasis on intersectionality and the connections between different movements. The need for community-level grassroots organization and opposition to political hierarchy and illegitimate authority are also common themes. Unlike Marxist acts, several of which have been signed to major labels, anarchist artists have generally followed a DIY ethos which has led them to remain independent.

Prominent anarchist hip hop artists include: Emcee Lynx, Comrade Malone and Direct Raption.

Socialist hip hop[]

Many other artists object to capitalism in general but prefer not to explicitly identify with either Marxism or Anarchism and instead advocate various other forms of socialism. Hip hop acts that describe their politics as "socialist" include Dead Prez, Blue Scholars, and Sun Rise Above. Immortal Technique identifies himself as a socialist who promotes anti-imperialism, equality, peace and human rights. Looptroop Rockers is an anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist hip hop project from Sweden. Gatas Parlament is an anti-American, anti-capitalist hip hop project from Norway. Askari X, a rapper hailing from Oakland, CA, has also expressed his loyalty to the African People Socialist Party (APSP).


Reh Dogg is one of the most notable conservative hip hop artists. While most ocnservative rappers are white, Reh Dogg is Afro-Carribean (black). Diabolic is also an undergorund rapper who has some conservative ideals as well as socialist ideals. Conservatism is not well noted in the hip hop scene, but still has made its appearence in the mainstream.


Marxism has been an element of social movements worldwide and is seen in hip hop. Two overtly Marxist groups in the English language have been Marxman and The Coup. Both groups also incorporate Revolutionary Nationalism into their message, Irish Republicanism for Marxman and Black Nationalism for The Coup. Sun Rise Above is another, lesser known, Marxist artist. For these artists, class struggle and anti-imperialism are major recurring themes.

Other sbugenres[]

Other political hip hop artists advocate a wide range of positions, and often disagree with one another. Zionist hip hop acts like Golan and Subliminal[1], and Palestinian nationalists like the Iron Sheik [2] have obvious fundamental disagreements about a wide range of issues, but both use hip hop music and culture as a vehicle to express themselves and spread their ideas. As hip hop becomes increasingly widespread, artists from many different countries and backgrounds are using it to express many different positions, among them political ones. The nature of hip hop (as with much music) as an opposing force to the establishment lends itself to such a use.[3]


  • Emcee Lynx
  • Iron Shiek
  • Golan
  • Diabolic
  • Dead Prez
  • Immortal Technique
  • Askari X
  • Blue Scholars
  • Sun Rise Above
  • Looptroop Rockers
  • Comrade Malone
  • Direct Raption
  • Otnorot 416
  • Madchild
  • DaLeeWoke


External links[]