Dee-1
Dee-1 is a 24 year-old math-teacher-turned-rapper from New Orleans who is currently on a 50-date national tour through the League of Young Voters and Seattle-based rapper Macklemore in support of his mixtape, #TheFocusMixtape.

Share on Tumblr

REASON 54: President Obama understands the voiceless.

I’m a hip-hop artist, I'm a black man, and I'm a voter. I stepped away from a stable career as a middle school math teacher in my hometown of New Orleans to pursue my dream of making music full-time... and it's working. President Obama has said that he already has artists like Jay-Z, Nas, and Lil Wayne on his iPod, so once we re-elect him, he'll need some new tunes to ride to for the next four years. My recommendation? Dee-1. But that's another story...

I believe that the main thing that disengages most young black males like myself from the political process is the feeling that we just don't matter to politicians. We ask ourselves questions like, “Does the President really care about my well being? What about the people in my neighborhood? Can the President relate to any of the struggles I go through on a daily basis? Why should I even vote?” Hip-hop was born out of rebellion to give a voice to the voiceless, to celebrate good times, shed light on the bad ones, all while doing it with cool style and raw passion. President Obama understands hip-hop. He understands what the voiceless people, the rejects, and the have-nots of this country go through.

I’ve never been opposed to voting. I see its importance and I appreciate the sacrifices of my ancestors who died to grant me this right. However, I’ve seen many hip-hop artists and fans either openly oppose voting or choose to remain neutral on the subject. I’ve posted statuses on Twitter encouraging people to register to vote and gotten several replies like, “Now unfollowing @dee1music because I don’t do voting.” I’ve posted statuses saying that I support Obama and gotten, “You are wasting your time talking about voting and Obama. Stick to rapping. Now unfollowing @dee1music.” But if I lose 10,000 Twitter followers and inspire even one person to vote, my efforts were worth it. Believe dat.

As clippers buzz in the barbershops of New Orleans, Obama’s buzz has helped spark political conversations, whereas the usual topics tend to hover around money, cars, clothes, and who got locked up or shot recently. He inspired my guy “Snapback Roni” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to not only get out and vote, but to hit the streets and go door to door to get people in his hood registered. Roni was on his way to becoming a statistic, now he's on his way to becoming a powerful leader in a community that desperately needs him.

I believe in the power of hope. I know that hope can spark the desire within someone to do better and ultimately to be better. President Obama provides hope. I believe in the power of sincerity. Being sincere helps people in any environment respond well to you. President Obama is more genuine than Romney. Has Romney heard of Jay-Z? Certainly. But when Obama is able to engage Jay-Z (and Beyonce) enough for them to host a fundraiser and raise $4 million for his campaign, that makes a statement to my people. When Obama has rappers like Young Jeezy making songs about politics, that makes a statement to my community. When Obama is able to engage me enough to where I use my own website to register voters, that makes a statement to my fans. The statement is clear. The election is near. Obama in 2012.

Dee-1
 New Orleans, Louisiana

Read the next essay →

REASON 45:
Mitt Romney will approve the proposed Keystone Pipeline. read essay →

REASON 76:
Life is a pre-existing condition.read essay →

REASON 88:
Obama has worked to end the war on drug users.read essay →