A Poem for The Young Voter

October 25, 2008

Just give me one more week, and then I promise we get back to hip-hop and such. Maybe two weeks. Click here if you don't get the Leon Lett reference. Also check this West Philly Obama rap that Lindsay Campbell sent me (delivered over a Thieves in the Temple loop..!)

NOTE: I'm getting a bunch of traffic from myspace right now but I can't tell where it's from, can anyone tell me who's linking to me there? Muchas gracias. UPDATE: Shoutout to Brandi C from VH1's Charm School for the myspace linkup. (See how Obama is bringing worlds together??)

[download] | [youtube version]

Posted by jsmooth995 at October 25, 2008 9:14 AM

Well done. Must be shared. Lindsay is making me homesick. Thanks for another gem.

Posted by: RPM at October 25, 2008 9:51 AM

given the nature of this campaign, i don't think you ever got away from hip hop. hip hop isn't just music, right? it involves a culture and community that are essentially an expression and result of racial oppression. so when you talk about a presidential campaign that draws up all the emotions and issues that also came together in the formation of hip hop, to me, you're still talking about hip hop. especially since, from what i can tell, hip hop always becomes political, even if it isn't necessarily meant to BE political (and i'm using "political" in the sense of "political economy" or "the theory or study of the role of public policy in influencing the economic and social welfare of a political unit [or us]")...
(maybe you could tie some of your posts together. like tell McCain that when he won't look at Obama during a debate or refers to him as "that one;" when his campaign fear mongers by trying to tie Obama to radical Islam and terrorism; or when they push a story that plays on the stereotype of overly sexual black males preying upon and ravaging white womanhood- he sounds racist.)
i'm feeling like part of the reason our country doesn't wind up being run in a way that suits our needs is that politics is painted as this entity separate from our lives; like it's something that boring rich white men do that is removed from "our realities." but the reality is that that avoidance or apathy about politics is how these folks get into office and continue to screw us and "our reality" the way they always have screwed us (and by "us" i mean the political unit comprised of US citizens).
it's like one of my old professors used to say "While y'all were out there arguing about Janet Jackson's breast coming out, they took away your right to vote!"
it's dated, but, you get the picture.

Posted by: jenessa at October 25, 2008 10:08 AM

Smokin! This is so right on as always. And I agree with Jenessa above. You don't always have to be commenting on hip hop to be up in it.

Posted by: withoutscene at October 25, 2008 10:17 AM

I have to agree with the commenters above, this is "real" hip-hop. hip hop has always been c/overtly political. In these crazy-ass times, if you were making funny videos about Fitties new banana hammock male-stripper underwear line, we'd have a problem. So keep up the good work.
plus you got moves and you can rap!

Posted by: Q.Peeps at October 25, 2008 11:30 AM

Great poem, Jay. I'll post it up on my site.

Posted by: Matthew Milam at October 25, 2008 11:47 AM

After months of not so fun conversations me and my brothers convinced my evangelical republican mom to vote for Obama...in Florida early voting! Hows that for hope?

Posted by: Jonathan at October 25, 2008 11:51 AM

Awesome! Keep it up man. This is great stuff.

Posted by: Eric Stoller at October 25, 2008 12:09 PM


Posted by: Jason Reynolds at October 25, 2008 12:39 PM


Posted by: ginevra at October 25, 2008 12:58 PM

I'd rather get back to when it was acceptable -- nay, COMMERCIAL -- to get political in hip hop and our T-shirts said things that didn't have to do with gross consumerism but rather our ideals. It was a brief but GLORIOUS time and I am praying that the current excitement will lead to a new, involved, political era. Please don't stop.

Posted by: gwen at October 25, 2008 1:20 PM

Dammit. I have been inundated with e-mails and blog posts and so forth all on approximately the same subject until I'm starting to delete on sight because I get it already--

But this? This gave me chills.

Posted by: Caluna V. at October 25, 2008 1:55 PM

Dope ish man. Do you have a mp3 of this handy? I'd like to play it on my show on Nov. 2nd right before the election. Holler @ me, DJHyphen@gmail.com

Posted by: Hyphen at October 25, 2008 2:01 PM

Woot! You went to you tube for this. I can't embed with blip :) and you always do great stuff

Posted by: Fae Yin at October 25, 2008 4:00 PM

I think you make interesting points no matter WHAT you comment on - hip-hop, politics, travel, your cat, whatever. You talk about whatever you want, and I'm going to listen. Even if it IS hip-hop, and I don't know anything about it. (Shhh...don't tell your other readers.)

As for this particular post - Fan-frickin'-tastic. Possibly your best yet.

Posted by: Amy at October 25, 2008 5:06 PM

very nice. i agree wholeheartedly with jenessa.. so by all means, please take two. or three if u like. ;-)

Posted by: steph at October 25, 2008 7:24 PM

Brilliant! I second the request of an MP3 (so I can play it for my students).

Posted by: bedirhan at October 25, 2008 10:38 PM

Wow. Well. Done. !.

Posted by: Manny Faces at October 26, 2008 12:05 AM

That shit is tight - I'll be playing that in Peoria.

Posted by: Emerge Peoria at October 26, 2008 12:13 AM

We're on it, bro.

Posted by: Steven Klassen at October 26, 2008 4:18 AM


Absolutely brilliant.

Posted by: SDLN at October 26, 2008 4:22 AM

And it’s not just the people who sit watching Oprah or playing Madden instead of voting, it’s the people who had a crazy day at work come up, or their kid got sick, or they had a test to study for, etc. etc.

Voting is more important. If you don’t vote, you’ll be paying for it for the next four years. Take the time. Go with friends. Push everything else to the side for half an hour, get to the polling station, and do what millions of people in history, and in the world right now, wish they could do. Register your choice.

Posted by: Paul D. Waite at October 26, 2008 6:15 AM

yes i did!
absentee ballot received, filled out and sent back last week!

Posted by: raven at October 26, 2008 8:06 AM

Freaking brilliant. I'm pleased to say that when I ask my classes of newly eligible voters if they are voting they almost all raise their hands. The current generation is smarter than we think.

Posted by: Liesl at October 26, 2008 11:54 AM


Good shit as always, Jay.

Posted by: The Grip at October 26, 2008 11:56 AM


Posted by: lala at October 26, 2008 3:49 PM


Posted by: bill c. at October 26, 2008 8:10 PM

Love You!

Posted by: nina at October 27, 2008 9:05 AM

makes me want to vote

Posted by: concerned hater at October 27, 2008 11:28 AM

thanks! love it.

Posted by: alia at October 27, 2008 11:49 AM

Well Smooth, guess you did your public service spot to the maximum. As we say in Cape Town... Well Done!
No need for anyone to add to the avalanche of tips; including for folks to not wear and candidate support material into the election area. And leave ample time to clear up any fraud on their part.

Perfect song for the occasion:
Nina Simone singing - New World Coming.

Peace, Love and Hair grease.

Posted by: audiodramatist at October 27, 2008 5:03 PM

It's looking like the biggest thing that going to keep voters away from the polls will be the LONG ASS LINES. Stick with it people! Your employer is legally obligated to give you time off work to vote - so don't you dare turn around and go home! This may be the one and only time in your life that waiting in a long line is a *good* thing - probably the most historic line you'll ever wait in.

Posted by: Kate at October 27, 2008 6:51 PM

I am a big fan of you and Coates and Ghettomanga... so I give yall shout outs and links all the time on my blog... now my I ain't that "popular" yet so it just may be me and many others

Posted by: SB Ryan at October 28, 2008 6:27 AM

That was great!

Posted by: Mac at October 28, 2008 7:05 AM

I have one of your videos on my myspace, but I don't think *I* get a lot of traffic ;-) They must be coming from somewhere else.

Posted by: Gina Marie at October 28, 2008 10:17 AM

Brandi C from I Love Money is linking to you in bulletins on Myspace. That's how I got here, at least.

Posted by: Angelica at October 28, 2008 1:33 PM

I got to this site from Brandi C on myspace she posted a link to this site!! I like tha poem..itz great!!

Posted by: Steff Delgado at October 28, 2008 2:59 PM

i found thiz site from a bullitin on myspace by Brandi C..im glad i now kno of ur site itz kool!!

Posted by: Steff Delgado at October 28, 2008 3:01 PM

That was freakin' awesome and YOU are too adorable. Well done, well done! Bravo!

Absentee ballot in hand. Off to mail it in and make by Obama statement in my crazy-upstate-NY-red-ass-McCain-county.

Posted by: missbhavens at October 28, 2008 5:32 PM

Brandi C. is the one linking you from myspace. ISnt that a good thing? She is getting you hella hits. http://www.myspace.com/brandilox

Posted by: Tisha at October 28, 2008 7:41 PM

I'm linking to you (and posting your vids on my myspace blog)


don't know if thats where its coming from though...
(if something is funny on there it spreads like wildfire)

and thats the reason I post em up...(always give credit though...well not always..sometimes I get lazy or I'm in a rush)

but yeah...

is there a problem being cause by the traffic your gettin from there?

cause I'll stop if you need to find a fix find a fix for it...(I'd really rather not though...I love spreading the goodness)


Posted by: edgar c. at October 28, 2008 10:04 PM

brandi c from vh1 posted a bulletin linking to the page. lol. :)

Posted by: Julia at October 28, 2008 10:42 PM

In the same vein of Obama getting a massive amount of support from the Hip Hop Community. Check out this video from something I'm working in Texas called www.TexasStandUp.com

We have Bun B, Killer Mike, Big Boi and 20+ other artists and activists explaining why they should vote (and vote early) and vote blue.

David Banner “It’s on us.”

Redman “We have to stop with these old fogies taking over President that don’t know what’s going on with the people today."


Posted by: BerkRS at October 29, 2008 12:03 AM

damn spelling mistakes...


Posted by: edgar c. at October 29, 2008 12:13 AM

I've been linking to you via MySpace under the header "maryjanefoxie's favorite internet crushes". Doing my little part to spread the love & the knowledge.

Posted by: maryjanefoxie at October 29, 2008 1:44 AM

Tho our political views differ I give you credit for the rap, it was very good, and also if young people are voting it is a good thing...regardless of who they are voting for. Oh, and I got here from Brandi C.'s myspace (the chick from rock of love & charm school)

Posted by: Jeremiah at October 29, 2008 1:53 AM

I've been linking to (the youtube version of) this video in my myspace blog, and bulletins.

Posted by: Khemmeta at October 29, 2008 8:35 PM

Jay, You are the muthafuckin' man! My friend Bassey put me on to you about 4 months ago and I check your site every other day for a new post. I can't say that this is the best post yet, because each of them has it's own type of greatness, but I'm blown away at your ability to turn current events into art so effortlessly. Looking forward to the next one.


Bomani Armah
aka "Mr. Read a Book"
aka "Mr. Notarapper"
aka "D'mite"
aka "Viral"
aka "The Black Colin Powell".

Posted by: Bomani at October 29, 2008 11:31 PM

This is awesome!

Posted by: Ann at October 30, 2008 12:36 PM

No explanations necc. You are still bringin' hip-hop to the masses. Keep being YOU!

Posted by: bL-aktivist at October 30, 2008 6:54 PM

I love your blogs. Your 'little hater' blog really allowed me to open my eyes.. I have been taking more pictures all week and painting new pictures! I love it.

Thank you

Posted by: VulcanRoyalty at October 31, 2008 2:26 AM

Big ups all around J, great poem.

Posted by: josh d at October 31, 2008 7:45 PM

Check out my "Can't Stop Us OBAMA REMIX (Yes We Can)" song by following this link:



Posted by: Drew at November 3, 2008 12:29 AM

I just found this blog via itunes and being a New Yorker who loves hip hop I don't know how I didn't know about this earlier.
Anyway, I included your video as part of my post on http://randomsarah.com/vote because I think the youth of America really needs to step up tomorrow and VOTE!
Thank you for putting great content out there!

Posted by: Sarah Cooley at November 3, 2008 3:41 PM

I liked it. You are talented. I CAN'T wait until your commentary after those damn long campaigns and we finally know who the 44th president will be!

Posted by: Gloria at November 3, 2008 8:26 PM

I'm Canadian, and I wish that I had had the time to come down and help with the Obama campaign. To be part of what is quite possibly the best campaign ever run....what will be a defining moment in history...

I wish I could have been a part of it all. :)

Posted by: Sandela at November 4, 2008 12:28 AM

Is there I copy of this poem anywhere, I would love to put the lyrics in my blog post. I'm sending this to everyone I know today!
Lets get out there and vote!

Posted by: Sarah Cooley at November 4, 2008 9:52 AM

What are you gonna do wen Obama loos..

start talking about hiphop again!?

Posted by: IllMfksz1 at November 4, 2008 7:05 PM


Posted by: IllMfksz1 at November 4, 2008 8:51 PM


Congrats to you, to all of your readers, and to President-Elect Barack Obama!

Posted by: Doc Justice at November 4, 2008 11:06 PM

Yes, we did.

Posted by: g-Harp the Producer at November 4, 2008 11:18 PM

Okay, Jay!

Celebrate this.....We Did IT!

Posted by: Wordsmith at November 4, 2008 11:36 PM


Very looking forward to your next video Jay :)

Posted by: TakaM at November 5, 2008 1:26 AM

You have sustained me over the past several months and, most particularly after Sarah Palin called out those of us who are dedicated to helping others, you deserve a place in our prayers and in our dreams.

Posted by: Bridget Morgan at November 5, 2008 1:42 AM

I'm still pinching myself... unbelievable night! But let's not lose sight of the big picture... this was just the first step!

Posted by: TACH at November 5, 2008 7:55 AM

He did it....Thanks for keeping me on my toes Jay ;-)

Posted by: Sandra G. at November 5, 2008 8:52 AM

Yes he has and he has done it.


Posted by: ap215 at November 5, 2008 5:36 PM

We had it in the palm of our hands and we could taste it then we closed fists, cast our votes and got wasted!

Thanks man, your words truly were an inspiration and a mantra of sorts for me in the past week!

We did it!!

Posted by: sam at November 5, 2008 5:53 PM

I hope you are working on a follow up vid to encourage us to not breath easy. Just because Obama won doesn't mean that the nation will just fix itself magically.

Posted by: Danny at November 5, 2008 9:00 PM

bring on the next vlog, Jay! Yes we did!!

Posted by: R at November 5, 2008 9:06 PM

Jay! New Vlog! Please!

Posted by: Henry Casey at November 6, 2008 9:35 AM

The only poll that counted was the last one - YES WE DID!

Like sam said, your poem was a touchstone for myself and many others this past week. Thanks for your inspiration and hard work.

And I'm pretty much dying to see what you're going to say next. :) The last couple of days have me pretty inarticulate - I'm all sh*it-eating grin - but I know you'll have the right thing to say.

Much love Jay Smooth!


Posted by: Kate at November 6, 2008 10:37 AM

I love you. That's it, your rhyme is steady, cant say I wasnt ready, to hear you kick the truth and stay real like Ubgly Bettty!

Peace one love,

Posted by: Kisha Lazae at November 7, 2008 1:13 PM

awesome poem fam...feeling the words and the visual...peace and blessings

Posted by: Praverb at November 29, 2008 1:37 AM

I wonder how did new msn logo get into the worst l ist?

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Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

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Posted by: mialem wypadek at March 8, 2012 2:08 AM

Hallo an alle! Diese Website ist fantastisch und ich bin sicher, dass ich wieder hier zu sein.

Posted by: wypadek samochodowy at March 8, 2012 2:37 AM

You probably won't see this, BUT.....

I stumbled over your videos when I found a link to your talk at TED about how to talk to someone about racism. I've been going through each of your videos since then (last night).

I wish there were more (videos). I wish I could talk as cogently and articulately about social justice as you do, when I am banging my head against the wall of the culture here in my small, white, rural, bigoted, sexist, motivated-only-by-fear-and-entitlement town.

But most of all, I want to tell you that, watching and listening to you say everything the way I can only dream and wish I could say it, with love, compassion, empathy, respect, and all while keeping your main point/beliefs in mind - while listening to you do all that, I have to admit that I have cried more than once. I don't know why. This one, Poem for Young Voters, struck me so hard - 4 years later - that I just had to tell you how deeply you have affected me.

Keep talking, Mr. Smooth.

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