Even before he became the President-elect, Donald Trump had already earned the rap community’s enmity. The latest artists to offer up their verses: DC rappers Wale and Phil Adé, who on Tuesday released “Smile,” a diss track laden with jabs at Trump, the white-nationalist “alt-right” movement that backed him, and Tomi Lahren, the Blaze host known for her verbal sparring with Daily Show host Trevor Noah.
“An impossible bigot-slash-misogynist is ’bout to run the whole damn thing,” Wale says in the opening verse, without mentioning Trump by name. His second verse is more head-on. “The alt-rights hate us,” it begins. But he saves more extensive remarks for Lahren, although he botches her name:
Maybe I should meet Tami Lauren, I’ll Lauryn Hill her
Train her; she miseducated anyway
Prolly hate the color of my face
Lahren responded on Twitter Wednesday morning: “if you’re gonna put someone in a song…diss ’em.. perhaps get their fricken name right next time.” Wale tweeted back: “Ok Tammy,” to which Lahren said, “Ok Whale.”
Wale and Adé join a list of other rappers who have rebelled against Trump since he announced his candidacy: YG put out “FDT” and “FDT Part 2”, producer Metro Boomin staged a “Young Metro Don’t Trust Trump” protest concert in September, burgeoning artist Aminé’s dropped a surprising closing verse on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon shortly after the election, and Kendrick Lamar rapped that he’ll visit Trump Tower and “spray paint all the walls and smoke weed.”
What sets “Smile” apart from rap’s other repudiations of Trump is that while previous songs have been austere and pessimistic, Wale and Adé try to remain optimistic. Despite bleak lyrics like “America don’t want me,” as Wale says in the song, he finds solace in his friends, family, and music to give himself a reason to be happy and hopeful. Phil Adé, for his part, chimes in with added levity:
Look at how far that we’ve come
Look at the world we inspired
Look at the stars that we brung
They think that when that literal big wig starts that we done
They think because Hillary lost the cards will be Trumped
You out your mind…
“Smile” is also one of a handful of tracks Wale’s debuted over the past month. His fifth studio album, Shine, is expected to be released this year.