With the 2016 Republican National Convention now half over–and, incredibly, the city of Cleveland still not reduced to a smoking husk–we thought it was high time to take stock of another little-discussed subgenre in popular music: songs about the almost-certain-Republican-presidential-nominee-oh-god-please-tell-me-this-isn’t-actually-happening, Donald Trump. We call this genre “Trumpcore,” and as the video below explains, it has a surprisingly rich history.
In fact, the history of Trumpcore is so rich that we couldn’t do it justice in a single 3-5-minute video. So check below the jump for extended Spotify and TIDAL playlists featuring more songs about the Donald, along with the video’s script and a list of audio, video, and photo credits. Oh, and let me just say one more time: please, please vote this November.
Imaginary Genres is a video series by Dystopian Dance Party, where we coin new genres to shed light on shared traits and common themes in music, film, and other forms of media.
Today’s episode is about songs inspired by Donald Trump: real estate magnate, reality TV star, hideously misshapen sentient jack’o’lantern, and oh yeah, the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential election.
The history of Donald Trump songs–or, as we like to call them, “Trumpcore”–can be divided into two distinct eras: before and after 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy for the office of the president.
Before 2015, Trump appeared in popular music primarily as a symbol of gaudy, ostentatious wealth. When he first emerged in the national consciousness in the 1980s, he was known for his cartoonishly brash manner, gilded aesthetic sensibilities, and chauvinistic attitudes toward women–so, basically, just imagine Morris Day’s character from the Time, but with worse clothes and zero irony. It’s fitting, then, that one of the earliest songs to be written about Trump was from the Time’s 1990 album Pandemonium: a sexy little slow jam called “Donald Trump (Black Version).”
Given his flashy, larger-than-life reputation, it also makes sense that the pre-2015 Donald would be a regular point of reference for rappers. If we wanted to really dig into hip-hop Trumpcore, that would be a video in and of itself; so let’s just use the example of Mac Miller’s 2011 song “Donald Trump,” which actually sparked a feud between the rapper and his subject after Trump threatened Miller with a lawsuit for profiting from his name.
As mentioned before, however, the tides really turned against Trump with the announcement of his candidacy for president on a brazenly nativist platform. His infamous characterization of Mexican immigrants as “rapists” obviously angered the Latin American community, as well as non-racists in general; the same can also be said of his call for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States after the November 2015 terrorist attacks on Paris. Pretty soon, a whole new subgenre of Trumpcore had emerged: anti-Trump protest songs. Again, there’s almost too many of these to choose from, but the highest-profile to date has been “FDT” (guess what that stands for) by Bompton rapper YG featuring Nipsey Hussle.
As a society, we’ve been living with Donald Trump now for over 30 years; and unfortunately, with the Republican National Convention currently in full swing and expected to end in Trump’s formal nomination as the party’s candidate, we’re unlikely to have heard the last of him. But at least we have this new breed of anti-Trumpcore to help keep us sane. Let’s just hope that the next wave of Trump songs won’t be North Korea-style state-sanctioned songs of praise for our illustrious, wig-wearing leader. For Dystopian Dance Party’s Imaginary Genres, this has been Zach Hoskins. Please vote.
Video: “Bald Eagle Attacks Trump During Photoshoot” (Associated Press, 12/10/2015)
Audio: “Donald Trump” (Gucci Mane featuring Young Thug, 2014)
Video: “Trump Mocks Reporter with Disability” (CNN, 11/25/2015)
Photo: Trump on Trump (stolen from Jay Bookman)
Photo: Trump Tower (stolen from some racist on the Internet)
Video: The Apprentice Season One Credits (NBC, 2004)
Photo: “Trumpkin” (NBC New York, October 2015)
Video: “Donald Trump Announces Gov. Mike Pence as Running Mate” (Fox News, 7/15/2016)
Photo: Before – Trump circa 1990 (stolen from American Freedom Union); After – Trump circa 2015 (stolen from Lockerdome)
Video: “Donald Trump 1989 Million Dollar Phone Call” (YouTube)
Photo: Trump on the Cover of Newsweek, September 1987
Photo: Trump Poses in His Greenwich, Connecticut Home, 1987 (stolen from U.S. News)
Photo: Trump with Brandi Brandt on the Cover of Playboy, March 1990 (stolen from iStackr)
Video: Footage from Graffiti Bridge (Prince, 1990)
Video: Footage from “Jerk Out” (The Time, 1990)
Audio: “Donald Trump (Black Version)” (The Time, 1990)
Photo: Cover of Trump: The Man, the Myth, the Scandal by Joel Reed (stolen from the Huffington Post)
Photo: Morris Day, 1985 (stolen from Lansure’s Music Paraphernalia)
Video/Audio: Footage from “Donald Trump” (Mac Miller, 2011)
Photo: Trump Campaigns in Oklahoma, October 2015 (stolen from KTOO Public Media)
Video: Trump Announces His Presidential Campaign, Also His Racism (Goutech, June 2015)
Video: Muslim Woman Kicked Out of Donald Trump Rally (CNN, January 2016)
Photo: Anti-Trump Protest in New York (PBS NewsHour, March 2016)
Video/Audio: Footage from “FDT” (YG featuring Nipsey Hussle, 2016)
Video: Trump Makes His Entrance at the Republican National Convention, July 2016
Photo: A Possible Glimpse Into Our Dystopian Future (stolen from MarquisMarq)