Donald Trump to Play Accordion at Inaugural Ball
Youtube video suggests his hand gestures would work so much better with a squeeze box!
January 20, 2017
Watching Donald Trump play an accordion is one thing. But few people really appreciate the connection between Donald Trump and music.
Though recent songs refer to Trump's campaign and subsequent election as president of the United States, more than 200 songs refer to Trump prior to his successful presidential race between 1989 and 2013. With his win of the 2016 presidential bid, Trump's prominence in rap music has been liked to that of Ronald Reagan's in hardcore punk during the 1980s.
Trump's name first appeared in hip hop lyrics during the 1980s when the business mogul became an icon of the ultra rich. Among the earliest mentions of Donald Trump in rap lyrics was the Beastie Boys' 1989 track Johnny Ryall in which they pit Donald Trump alongside his homeless alter-ego, Donald Tramp.
While many rappers praised Trump's wealth, usually comparing their own financial aspirations or success to that of the billionaire businessman, others have used their music as a platform to criticize Trump's practices and politics.
Among the earliest of these was The Coup from Oakland, California who critiqued and mocked Trump on their first two albums released in the early 1990s.
ESPN's political site FiveThirtyEight documented that between 1989 and 2014, 19% of song lyrics about Trump were negative while 60% were positive. The 2010s marked a shift in hip hop musicians' attitude toward Trump as his presence in the public eye shifted from business tycoon to that of a politician making controversial statements against people of color, Latin American people, and Muslims.
Because of hip hop's close association with these communities and its reinvigorated politicization with the Black Lives Matter movement, lyrical depictions of Trump rapidly grew to be more disparaging throughout his campaign and subsequent election as President of the United States.
Many artists have name-checked Trump in more than one song. Pre-presidency, Rick Ross had the most Trump mentions (9 songs between 2008 and 2015) with Nas running second (7 songs between 1996 and 2012). Other major Trump name-checkers include Migos (6 songs between 2013 and 2016), Young Thug (6 songs between 2013 and 2015), Lil Wayne (5 songs between 2000 and 2012) and Raekwon (5 songs between 1995 and 2012).
The numerous references to Trump in lyrics have not gone unnoticed by the billionaire. When Mac Miller's 2011 song "Donald Trump" became a Billboard hit, Trump released a YouTube video congratulating the rapper:
A lot of people are calling me about the Mac Miller rap song. Now, it's named "Donald Trump." Maybe you should pay me a lot of money, but it just did over 20 million people, tuning into Mac Miller. So in one way, I'm proud of him. I haven't actually seen the language ... Probably, it's not the cleanest language you've ever heard ... But the "Donald Trump" song just hit over 20 million, that's not so bad. I'm very proud of him."
As the song garnered more plays, Trump took a more aggressive tone and demanded royalties for using his name, thereby starting a feud with Miller. In early 2013, Trump threatened the rapper via a series of exchanges on Twitter:
Little @MacMiller, you illegally used my name for your song “Donald Trump” which now has over 75 million hits.
I want the money not the plaque you gave me!
I’m now going to teach you a big boy lesson about lawsuits and finance. You ungrateful dog!
I have more hair than you do and there’s a slight age difference.
In 2015 Trump changed his attitude toward Miller again when he ended an interview with The Hill by praising Miller's song as it approached 100 million hits.
Outside of hip hop, most lyrical references to Trump have appeared in songs ranging from satires of the billionaire, to outright protest in varying degrees of explicitness. One of the earliest Trump send-ups was the 1990 ballad "Donald Trump (Black Version)" written by Prince for fellow Minneapolis act The Time in which singer Morris Day calls himself a black version of Donald Trump, who can use his riches to "fulfill [a woman's] every wish, [and her] every dream".
In 1992 Irish folk-rock group Goats Don't Shave had a #4 hit with "Las Vegas in the Hills of Donegal," which references Trump's casino business in imagining an Irish county that becomes a gambling Mecca.