Jeezy’s 2005 classic Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 is part-manifesto, part-biography. The intro features a powerful combination of the two: “You ain’t never seen them pies / I’m talking so much white, it’ll hurt ya eyes / I really lived it man.” This is a man who was trapping himself blind but still had the temerity to tell us “You gotta believe.” Thug motivation is a world away from political aspirations, but the core maxim is the same: You gotta believe this shit, man. America has pilfered blackness since its inception, and yet we got to see Barack Obama be inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009.
Although 2008’s The Recession didn’t match Thug Motivation‘s impact, the album did contain Jeezy’s most salient song. “My President,” featuring Tha Bizness’ brassy production and an excellent showing from Nas, was the anthem that captured the started-from-the-bottom catharsis that made Obama’s election so inspiring. As a hood-stay-the-hood mentality prevented some folks from the inner city from even voting for the first black president, Jeezy was here to bridge that disconnect with just two lines: “My president is black / My Lambo is blue.” It threaded the street and political spheres a uniting principle: Black people wanting to better ourselves in spite of systemic obstacles. That and The Boondocks‘ best monologue are why “My President” has been so crucial over the past eight years.
As you may have heard, the White House will get whiter. Today is the last day before “my president is black” becomes a poignant, more depressing “was.” Yesterday, I saw a Facebook event page titled “The last day to play Jeezy’s ‘My President is Black’,” and realized it is a necessary reminder that Jeezy’s hit will serve as a time capsule from here on out.
I’ll let Ernest Wilkins, the page description’s writer, take it from here.
Because it’s our civic duty, I am inviting everyone in America to listen to Jeezy’s “My President” — his 2008 magnum opus that also features Nas because why not? — as many times as you physically can stand to do so. Put it on a playlist. Sing it as loud as you can. Blast it at your job, your home…hell, if you’re a teacher, play it in class and tell the principal you’re doing a civics lesson or something, I dunno.
You damn right you should, because if January 20, 2009 doesn’t feel like a lived dream by now, it will tomorrow. With Donald Trump assuming office after a campaign of hateful rhetoric, you’d be right to wonder if we’ll ever see another black president. But again, you gotta believe.