Hip-hop and the U.S. military have a checkered relationship, to say the least. Being born out of the slums of urban America and fueled by its often impoverished conditions, hip-hop culture has always been anti-establishment, with a disregard for authority and corruption. Even some of hip-hop’s more influential figures like Muhammad Ali, who helped spark the art of spouting witty rhymes, would stand up against the U.S. government and refuse to enlist in the army, a sentiment that would be shared with the youth at the time who would collectively build the foundation of this culture of ours.
However, as race relations have gradually improved and the country has become more accepting of hip-hop culture and the people that represent it, there has also been a slight shift in our perception of the government, with more hip-hop fans and artists enlisting in the military. It has even become customary for some of the biggest stars in music to perform for the troops in a show of solidarity and patriotism, with hip-hop among the most dedicated supporters of the military and its troops.
Nov. 11 marks Veterans Day, the national holiday dedicated to those who have served the country as part of the military, including the Army, Air Force, Navy and the Marines. In celebration of the day and the people that protect this country, we highlight rappers from Ice-T to No Malice and more who have served in the military.