Jay-Z knows why you don’t care about voting, and he wants to do something about it.
Jay and Eminem have joined the rising chorus of hip-hop voices trying to engage young voters as the November 2 election approaches, and their efforts are documented in the new MTV special, “Choose or Lose Presents: Vote or Die!”
“Most people in the hip-hop generation are from urban areas where no matter who’s in office, nothing changes,” Jay-Z said. “It doesn’t trickle down to where we live — Republican, Democrat, anybody — because we didn’t vote. It was a double-edged sword. We didn’t vote, so politicians pay attention to numbers, right? So if that area of people isn’t voting, we don’t effect change, so they don’t have to cater to us. They don’t have to give us anything, because we don’t affect their bottom-line numbers. To be real, it’s really a numbers game, it’s not a people game. I know that’s sad and people are going to say I’m cynical, but it’s real. It’s really a numbers game.”
Jay hopes to use the power of those numbers to turn politicians on to the issues that affect young voters, even if change is a long time coming. “The people that made it possible for us to do what we do and to be able to flourish in this society, they didn’t see change,” Jay said. “I may not be able to see it, but my grandkids are going to be able to see it. We have to start doing things that aren’t going to change in a month or two. It may not happen in our lifetime, but the wheels that we put in motion right now, our kids and kids’ kids receive the benefits of it.”
For Eminem, the reason to hit the polls in November is even more direct: to be heard. “My music is how I express my opinion, but this is the chance for the younger generation [to express itself],” he said. “Many hip-hop peers are getting involved, and it’s good to see because hopefully it’s going to encourage the young people to get out there and vote on November 2 and rush them polls. If you don’t like what’s going on in the world and you don’t like what you see, get out there. It’s your chance to speak and be heard and for you to have a voice, so rush the polls November 2.”
You can hear more from Em, Jay and a host of others when “Choose or Lose Presents: Vote or Die!” premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. The special airs again Monday at 12:30 a.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 9 a.m.