2Pac beat me to this “letter to the president” concept by about 17 years — but there’s no dust on this remix — so here we go..
Dear Mr. President,
I’m going to keep it real from the jump — I’m a fan. I mean — I’m a FAN. I watch every televised address I can — I study your policy initiatives — I even study your physical demeanor and the inflection of your voice in hopes that I can one day play you in a movie! And though Canada wouldn’t let me vote for you, I did all I could to spread awareness of you and your message to my fans. No questions. No qualms. That’s what fans do. We support people we respect. In return, we give it back. We support those who respect us — “our” fans. That’s what I do, Mr. Obama, and that’s why I’m writing you today. It’s here that I respectfully slip into a more familiar tone. Though my respect for you necessitated my introduction come from “fan to man”.. the nature of my business necessitates that we talk “man to man.”
I’ve never envied your job. I rap about power and influence, but I know you’ve got that game on lock. I count money, but ain’t got a mint. I got beef with Chris Brown, and you’re starin’ down China’s billion. We both started from the bottom, but my “here” ain’t Air Force One. That’s real, but I’m smilin’! We’re at the top of our respective games, but your difficult decisions involve nuclear launch codes, and mine are about which car to drive or who’s ridin’ back to the crib. And while a 27 year old rapper from Canada might seem like an unlikely character to (respectfully) question your authority, that’s what this strange life we call “celebrity” has called on me to do.
A friend recently turned me on to an award-winning documentary on Netflix called “Dirty Wars.” I’m sure you’re well aware of it, but (for any fans that are reading) it’s a documentary about the secret wars that the United States is waging around the world, involving night raids and drone strikes. This film OPENED MY EYES on some real, deep levels. I’d heard the word “drones” before, and knew that some people disagreed with their use, but didn’t really recall you mentioning them in your speeches (besides this YouTube clip I watched about 3 years back). I suppose I just always assumed that your actions were justified, and lawful. I must say, I was wrong, but I didn’t know the extent to which I was wrong until I began to research the death of one of the people mentioned in the documentary; a boy named Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.
Abdulrahman was a 16 year old kid from Denver, Colorado who traveled to Yemen to search for his father — an American citizen who the United States accused of inspiring terrorism. On September 30th, 2011, you ordered a drone strike that killed Abdulrahman’s father. Two weeks later (October 14th, 2011), you authorized a drone strike that killed 16 yr old Abdulrahman — while he was at an outdoor BBQ with family. Now, you’re not gonna catch Drizzy defending al Qaeda terrorists, but I’ve done my reading — and I have questions:
Why was an innocent 16 year old American kid killed by a drone while cookin’ out with his family?
Why was this kid denied his constitutional right to due process?
Why, after he was killed, was he initially labeled a “militant,” when it was known that he had ZERO ties to terrorism?
Why won’t the government acknowledge any of the reasonable, legitimate questions that Abdulrahman’s grieving family have asked?
I’m not sure I’d have the courage to write such a letter, Mr. President, had I not witnessed your passionate, principled articulation of the injustice that was the Trayvon Martin case. The way you addressed the nation, with genuine, heartfelt concern for justice. The way you delicately but firmly explained that racism was still an issue that faced our nation, and clouded our better judgment. You inspired me, President Obama. And so it is with honor and unwavering confidence that I ask you…
When will Abdulrahman have justice?
Abdulrahman was a fan of my music. It was when I researched this kid that the reality of the drone policy hit me. This kid had a Facebook page. He listened to hip-hop. He was a perfectly normal American teenager — indistinguishable from Trayvon Martin, or any of my other fans. To know that a staggering number of innocent children are being killed in US drone strikes, and put a face to them..
..and to know that this kid was able to relate to the music I make..
When you can feel your duty, no one has to tell you what to do. I’m speaking out for a fan, Mr. President. I’m speaking out for all my fans who have been killed without justice, or the hope of justice. I’m speaking out, with the voice they’ve given me, for the fans who have yet to be killed in a drone strike or night raid.. For those who’ve never heard a Drake song…and for those who dislike Drake songs! I’m speaking out for fans of truth and justice.. Fans of living peacefully on this planet. Fans of life!
Can you feel your duty, Mr. President?
Do it for your fans.