4. Jay-Z Campaigns For And Introduces Barack Obama At Ohio Rally
Date: November 5, 2012
The Moment: The night before America's 2012 presidential election, Jay-Z appeared at Barack Obama's final campaign rally in Ohio, alongside Bruce Springsteen. Hov hit the stage and performed "Public Service Announcement," "On to the Next One," "Run this Town," "Encore," and "99 Problems," subbing in the word "Mitt"—as in Obama's Republican opponent Mitt Romney—in place of the word "bitch" on the chorus, before introducing Barack Obama.
The Impact: Everyone on Twitter freaked out and tuned in to the livestream, with music writers everywhere calling it a breakthrough for rap and politics. Whereas Jay had performed at the 2008 Inauguration during a relatively informal party, the American President explicitly lining himself up with the Roc was no small deal.
Conservative pundits immediately used it as a case against Barack Obama, citing Jay-Z's past as a crack dealer and the lyrics in "99 Problems" about evading cops. Rush Limbaugh personally took to the air the next day to lambaste both Jay-Z and Obama, and made his case by reciting the lyrics of "99 Problems," in what will stand the test of time as the single worst performance of the song in all of recorded history. That said, people had other things to worry about that day, like, for example, a Presidential Election.
The Upshot: Barack Obama? Handily re-elected President of the United States of America by a wide margin, especially with the help of Ohio. Ann Romney blamed the media for her husband's loss, but her defeated man reflected upon the fact that he "failed to reach minorities," let alone the youth vote or middle class that came out for Obama in droves.
Conservative columnists kept blasting Obama's friendship with Jay-Z, calling him an "ex-con entertainer" and the like. A few months later, Jay rapped on Kendrick Lamar's "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe (Remix)" and explained: "In the White House with a mink/Running through that bitch like it's my house/All up in the hall like a mall/Told you motherfuckers, all I do is ball." Also, he may have admitted to standing next to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton high as a kite: "Sittin' next to Hillary smellin' like dank/Presidential pardon, name one ni**a out there harder than him/I'll wait."