Donald Trump’s fall from hip-hop grace: From rap icon to public enemy No. 1

Barring Kanye West, it’s not news that the vast majority of hip-hop artists — from underground rappers to icons like Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Eminem and T.I. — have become powerful voices in the resistance against President Donald Trump.

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But only a few years ago — as recently as 2015 — hip-hop’s storied relationship with the celebrity business mogul-turned president told a very different tale.

Trump was an indisputable icon in hip-hop music for decades, and the admiration for his success and swagger is documented in more than 300 rap verses. Lyrics examined by ABC News show Trump was hailed for his wealth and power and idolized in songs that date back to at least the late 1980s.

“He was an American icon that stood for success and wealth, and that was something that was valued, particularly among a community of folks that were coming from lower class backgrounds and people who were locked out of the mainstream American economy,” Bakari Kitwana, the Executive Director of Rap Sessions, told ABC News.

NY Daily News via Getty Images
Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower.

What Trump’s hip-hop tweets reveal

Before he ran for president, Trump got shouts-outs from virtually every corner of the hip-hop world — West Coast rappers like Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar, East Coast rappers like Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy and 50 Cent and southern rappers like Lil Wayne and Jeezy.

Several songs were even named after Trump.

In his 2011 song, “Trump,” Atlanta rapper Jeezy hails his own success and labels himself the Trump of the hood: “Richest n**** in my hood, call me Donald Trump, the type of n**** to count my money while I smoke a blunt.”

In “Up Like Trump,” — the 2014 hit by hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, Swae Lee raps, “Forbes list, Forbes list, Forbes list, Forbes, read it like the Bible/Up like Donald Trump, chain swings like nunchucks.”

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And in the late rapper Mac Miller’s 2014 hit, “Donald Trump,” the Pittsburgh rapper boasts about his Trump-like persona: “Ay yo, the flyest m*****f***** in the room. Yeah, you know it’s me.”

And in more than 60 tweets about hip-hop, Trump either wrote about songs he was mentioned in or artists who praised or criticized him.

“Oh no, another rapper doing a Trump song –“Young Jeezy – Trump Lyrics.” Why aren’t these guys paying me?” Trump tweeted in 2012.

In nearly 50 tweets, Trump wrote about Miller’s 2011 hit, “Donald Trump,” going from slamming the rapper and demanding that he gets royalties from the song to boasting about how many views the song got and claiming that it’s doing well because Miller used his name.

Here are a few of those tweets:

From modern day stars like Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj, to old-school legends such as Ice Cube, Raekwon, Master P., Busta Rhymes and Mos Def, Trump and his brand were name-dropped by top artists in hip-hop for nearly 30 years and several mentioned him more than once.

PHOTO: Sean P. Diddy Combs, Donald Trump and Melania Trump in Palm Beach, Fla.Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images
Sean P. Diddy Combs, Donald Trump and Melania Trump in Palm Beach, Fla.

At the time, Trump was seen attending parties with Puff Daddy, was personal friends with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and was making guest appearances on iconic shows like “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” alongside Will Smith. Trump even appeared on G-Unit radio in 2005 with 50 Cent.

Trump noted Diddy’s admiration for him by sharing an article about it in October 2015.

But Kitwana, a culture critic who wrote the book, “Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop,” cautions that Trump’s relationship with hip-hop was always about Trump.

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References to him were “more of a nod to the aspirational culture in hip-hop,” Kitwana said, not an indication that the business mogul, who spread birther theories about Barack Obama, launched a crusade against the Central Park Five and mocked the “Black Lives Matter” movement, was a friend to the hip-hip community.

“I wouldn’t say that Trump was a part of the hip-hop community,” Kitwana told ABC News. “I would say that he got shout-outs. Even Jay Z talked about being at Trump Tower, but that’s just like anyone getting shout-outs in hip-hop.”

‘I’m Donald Trump in a white tee and white 1’s’

In his 2004 book “How to Get Rich” Trump not only says that having an ego is OK, but strongly argues that it is a necessary personality trait and without it, you can’t be successful. Trump explains his ideology in a chapter titled, “Have an Ego”:

“Having a well-developed ego, contrary to popular opinion, is a positive attribute. It is the center of our consciousness and serves to give us a sense of purpose. I remember saying to someone, ‘Show me someone with no ego and I’ll show you a big loser.’”

PHOTO: Marla Maples as Herself, Will Smith as William Will Smith, Donald Trump as Himself, in a scene from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.NBC via Getty Images
Marla Maples as Herself, Will Smith as William ‘Will’ Smith, Donald Trump as Himself, in a scene from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

Having a big ego has also been central to many rappers’ identities and the subject of many rap songs — and many rappers referenced Trump to boast about themselves.

Examples of lyrics that mirror this notion are so copious, but here are a few examples of songs that tie the notion of having an ego directly to Trump:

In “Black Trump,” a 2003 song featuring Raekwon, the Wu-Tang Clan rapper boasts about his money and status: “You gotta make power moves, black gunz and cash rule,” and ends the song with “Guess who’s the black Trump.”

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In his classic 2005 album and single, “Thug Motivation 101,” Jeezy raps, “I’m Donald Trump in a white tee and white 1’s/ The conversation is money, n****, you want some?”

In Kanye West’s 2010 single, “So Appalled,” West compares his baller status to Trump’s: “I’m so appalled, Spalding ball, balding Donald Trump taking dollars from y’all.”

In his 2003 hit, “Dirt Off Your Shoulders,” Jay Z famously raps: “If you feeling like a pimp n—-, go and brush your shoulders off,” and in his outro says, “You’re now tuned into the m—–f—— greatest. Best rapper alive, best rapper alive.”

In “How to Get Rich,” Trump writes that brushing the dirt off your own shoulder — which he refers to as tooting your own horn — is key to success: “So don’t be afraid to toot your own horn when you’ve done something worth tooting about.”

‘All I do is win’

Few politicians talk about “winning” as much as Trump. The president continued to boast about winning the election months after Inauguration Day, vowed that America will “get tired of winning” if he’s elected and has boasted about winning everything from the presidential debates, the economy, and the polls.

Trump even treated his first divorce “as a business deal and he cannot lose, he has to win,” his ex-wife Ivana Trump told ABC News in October 2017.

And for years, hip-hop celebrated Trump’s “winning.”

Hip-hop lyrics are filled with success stories from many artists who come from humble backgrounds and the name “Trump” — which also happens to rhyme with a lot, Kitwana noted — was the perfect reference for many rappers to bring the point home.

PHOTO: 50 Cent and Donald Trump arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar party hosted by Graydon Carter held at Sunset Tower, Feb. 27, 2011, in West Hollywood, Calif.Mark Sullivan/WireImage/Getty Images
50 Cent and Donald Trump arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar party hosted by Graydon Carter held at Sunset Tower, Feb. 27, 2011, in West Hollywood, Calif.

Gucci Mane compares his wins to Trump in the 2015 song “Straight Drop”: “Break down all my bales in Ferragamo/ Hugo Boss, jumper cause I just Donald Trump you.”

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