The New York Times published a catalog on August 20 of each of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls’ campaign playlists. These are the tracks that the candidates use to amp up their campaign rally crowds, serve as their walkup music when approaching the stage, and communicate some of the candidate’s message. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) playlist had far and away the most female artists of any other candidate, which the Times pointed out likely “reflects her desire to appeal to female voters.”
With that in mind, the inclusion of the “Scared of the Dark” remix by Lil Wayne and Ty Dolla $ign featuring the late XXXtentacion from the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack feels like an odd choice on a playlist dominated by the likes of Le Tigre, Lizzo, and Queen Latifah. A rep from Gillibrand’s campaign did tell the Times that the track was removed from the playlist in the spring.
Times music critic Jon Caramanica called the song’s inclusion “a misstep,” given that XXXTentacion was arrested in 2016 for aggravated battery of a pregnant victim, witness tampering, and false imprisonment. The alleged victim was the rapper’s ex-girlfriend who accused XXXTentacion of slapping her, smashing her iPhone after she complimented a male friend’s jewelry, and threatening to stab her in the vagina with a barbecue fork. She also accused the late rapper of punching and strangling her while she was pregnant with their child. XXXTentacion was also heard bragging about assaulting his ex on recorded phone calls he made from jail after he was arrested. The rapper’s domestic violence case never made it to trial, as it was delayed several times before the rapper was shot to death outside of Miami in June 2018.
As the Times pointed out, “there are several hundred Lil Wayne songs that could have appeared on Ms. Gillibrand’s playlist to include contemporary hip-hop” in place of a song featuring an alleged domestic abuser.