The list of rappers openly and unabashedly supporting Donald Trump‘s campaign for re-election just got even longer after Lil Wayne offered his full-throated endorsement of the president Thursday night.
With just a few days left until the election, there’s still plenty of time for other rappers who may [also?] be feeling some misguided sense of peer pressure to dive headfirst into the sunken place and follow suit by endorsing Trump. However, it seems pretty safe to assume that ASAP Rocky will not be one of them.
To be sure, the short but significant list of rappers endorsing Trump — or, at least, working with him — contains some heavy hitters other than Wayne, such as Ice Cube, 50 Cent and Kanye West. Besides Trump, the common denominator that unites them all seems to be money. Since they’re all a part of the infamous “1 percent” who earn more than $538,926 yearly, they likely fear having taxes raised on them by Joe Biden, who has vowed to increase the tax rate for anyone making more than $400,000.
And aside from Ice Cube, who drafted his Contract With Black America — parts of which he says the Trump campaign is using to supplement its so-called Platinum Plan for Black people — none of the above rappers has any real concrete political plans to offer the country. Not even Kanye, who has supported Trump while mounting his own ambitiously sunken independent presidential bid in an effort to siphon Black folks’ votes from Biden to help the president’s re-election efforts.
Chances are we’ll see and hear nothing like that from ASAP Rocky even though the rapper has an estimated net worth of $10 million he probably also doesn’t want to pay higher taxes on. That’s because ASAP Rocky has already made it quite clear how he feels about Trump without saying a single word — especially after the president demanded that the rapper publicly thank him and his administration for purportedly helping him avoid jail time abroad for an assault charge last year in Sweden.
At the time, the White House wanted Rocky to lavish praise on Trump in hopes of boosting the president’s image among Black people. But Rocky wasn’t here for all that.
Rocky was detained in an “inhumane” Swedish jail in early July 2019 following an altercation he had with two men in Stockholm. The then-30-year-old maintained that he was acting in self-defense during the June 30 altercation. He was on a European tour when the fight broke out with local media blaming the rapper. The very next day TMZ published a video of the encounter, which purportedly showed Rocky and his entourage fighting against one other person, allegedly over the rapper and his crew breaking a pair of headphones. Both men followed Rocky after making the accusation and a brawl ensued.
Another video appeared to show Rocky trying to make peace before the fight started.
Still, Rocky and the two people in his entourage reportedly surrendered to local authorities on July 2. He was ultimately released on Aug. 2 and promptly returned back to the U.S. before being found guilty at trial a couple of weeks later. He didn’t have to return to Sweden because he was given a conditional sentence since the assault did not result in serious injury.
Enter Trump, of course, who said he deserves credit not only for securing Rocky’s release but also for keeping him from returning to jail.
The U.S. threatened Sweden with “negative consequences” if Rocky wasn’t released from jail.
“The government of the United States of America wants to resolve this case as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative consequences to the U.S.-Swedish bilateral relationship,” the U.S. special presidential envoy for hostage affairs wrote to Swedish prosecutors.
But Sweden’s prosecutor-general denied the demand.
“No other prosecutor, not even I, may interfere with a specific case or try to affect the prosecutor responsible,” Lundh responded in a letter.
It remains unclear if the U.S. ever had anything to do with Rocky’s release.
Originally, it was being reported that Kim Kardashian was communicating with Jared Kushner, who then spoke to his father-in-law, Trump. But Trump’s favorite spiritual adviser, the anti-Black Pastor Darrell Scott, inexplicably claimed he was also involved in negotiations to release Rocky.
“All I’m asking for you guys to do is say thank you,” he reportedly told Rocky’s manager.
According to Scott, Rocky’s manager responded, “If a serial killer gets Rocky out of jail, I would have no problem saying thank you to the serial killer.”
But no “thank you” ever occurred, said Scott, who claimed Rocky and his team were dodging him. He said he told Rocky’s manager, “I hope you guys aren’t going back on what you said you were going to do.”
USA Today reported that Robert O’Brien, who at the time had recently become the new White House national security adviser, “played a pivotal role” in Rocky’s release.
But the truth ultimately came out during Trump’s impeachment hearings later that year when the New York Times reported: “an official from the United States Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, testified that he had overheard a phone call in which Gordon Sondland, the American ambassador to the European Union, advised Mr. Trump to wait for Rocky to be sentenced, and then ‘play the racism card’ and ‘give him a ticker-tape when he comes home.'”
That revelation officially vindicated Rocky for refusing to publicly thank Trump, something that would have undoubtedly become a campaign soundbite in a disingenuous effort to misrepresent the president’s relationship with and intentions for Black people.
Rocky’s silence still speaks volumes, especially now amid the unexpected outpouring of support for Trump from a certain portion of rappers.
The situation was entirely too reminiscent of Trump’s purported involvement in securing the release of former college basketball player LiAngelo Ball from a Chinese jail in 2018 over accusations of shoplifting. In that case, Trump demanded a public thanks from Ball and his family even though “The situation was already resolved by the time we heard about Trump’s involvement,” ESPN reported.
A year later, that didn’t keep Trump from trying the same thing again with Rocky.
But both of Trump’s self-congratulatory bids were ultimately unsuccessful, just like what polls are predicting for the upcoming election’s results.