The first time I heard of Wyclef Jean, I was 10. (I really first heard of him via The Fugees and their work on this Sesame Street movie from the ’90s, but for this story’s sake, we’ll go with 10.) He was on Chappelle’s Show.
Unlike previous performers, like Common and Kanye West, this one was somber. He played “If I Was President” — a hypothetical song of what would happen to him, namely a black man, if he became president. Pretty much, people would be sad, but the world would keep turning, and that’s hyper depressing.
As if the reality of the political state of the country wasn’t clear enough then, right around when George W. Bush was running for a second time, 2016 has let the world know how much upsetting politics in this country are, especially when the real issues — social injustice, power inequalities — aren’t discussed, but rather a candidate groping women or another deleting emails are the only things discussed.
To reflect that, Wyclef Jean updated “If I Was President.”
The Fugee member included the Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter argument (that’s really a non-argument) and Donald Trump saying he’s going to make a wall across the Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it, noting that it’s all depressingly “just an ordinary day.”
The 2016 version of “If I Was President” will appear on Jean’s J’ouvert EP, which will drop November 18.
Listen to “If I Was President 2016” below.