In his supporters, he inspires a devotion that is somewhere between fanatical and rabid; in his critics, he inspires disgust that is somewhere between outrage and nausea. And in many musicians, he's inspired music, as evidenced by this list of diss tracks about Donald Trump. In the grand tradition of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, musicians who dislike Donald Trump channel their political outrage into song.
Political protest songs have a long and noble history in the United States. "Yankee Doodle," for instance, was one of the country's first protest songs, written by British soldiers to make a mockery of their American counterparts; the American soldiers, however, claimed the song for themselves and ironically sang it as a way to taunt the British. From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, from the civil rights struggle to the presidency of Donald J. Trump, the American protest song is, thankfully for democracy, alive and well.
"Million Dollar Loan" By Death Cab For Cutie
Alt-rock darlings Death Cab for Cutie take aim at Trump in "Million Dollar Loan" — specifically, Trump's assertion that he's a "self-made" billionaire who started with a "small" million-dollar loan from his father. Lyrics include:
He built his fortune the old-fashioned way
Because to succeed
There's only one thing you really need
A million-dollar loan
Nobody makes it on their own
Without a million-dollar loan.
Date Recorded: 2016
"Campaign Speech" By Eminem
Rap legend Eminem was one of the first high-profile musicians to come out swinging against Trump. His song "Campaign Speech" is a savage sucker-punch about then-candidate Trump, sung directly to his supporters. Em raps:
You say Trump don’t kiss a** like a puppet?
‘Cause he runs his campaign with his own cash for the funding?
And that’s what you wanted?
A f*ckin’ loose cannon who’s blunt with his hand on the button
Who doesn’t have to answer to no one?
Those are arguably the tamer lyrics of the set.
Date Recorded: 2016
"Hallelujah Money" By Gorillaz Featuring Benjamin Clementine
In "Hallelujah Money," Gorillaz and Benjamin Clementine paint a symbolic portrait of Trump's America. Released on the eve of the inauguration in 2017, the song is about corporate influence, unchecked power, and the vulnerability of the human condition:
Here is our tree
That primitively grows
When we go to bed
Scarecrows from the Far East
Come to eat its tender fruits
I have thought that the
Best way to protect our tree
Is by building walls.
Date Recorded: 2017
"This Land Is Your Land" By Chicano Batman
"This Land Is Your Land" is by no means a new song, nor is it a direct diss of Trump. But in the hands of Latinx musicians Chicano Batman, the Woody Guthrie folk classic takes on powerful new dimensions in the Trump era. Chicano Batman sings part of the song in Spanish, thereby making a statement on the immigrant community's important place in America.
Date Recorded: 2016 - 2017