Offset Talks Government Shutdown, New Album and Donald Trump

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Offset Talks Government Shutdown, New Album and Donald Trump

It’s the 31st day of the longest government shutdown in American history—and also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—and Offset sits in a dimly lit room in Midtown Manhattan grappling with the country’s state of distress. He’s shown up at Esquire’s studio for a chat about his upcoming album—a profile that will be released in full in the coming weeks. During the conversation, his mind turned to the grim reality for the thousands of furloughed Americans who are left to provide for their families without resources.

Throughout Offset’s career, he’s been known for his lofty rhymes that are often packed with name drops of luxury labels and braggadocious flexes, but he admits that in addition to wanting to offer his audience a more vulnerable project, this sobering political moment calls for music that’s more relatable. “We’re going through a fucked up time,” he says. “Both sides. Black and the white. You know why? The government shutdown. Black people aren’t working, white folks aren’t working. It’s everybody.”

Last week, the mother of Offset’s child and socio-politically aware rap icon, Cardi B, candidly shared her sentiments on the worsening disaster in a viral and informative video she posted on her Instagram. Offset’s not usually one to engage in current events, but as he reflects on his international travels, he’s stunned by the globally aspirational ideas of the U.S. versus the sad truth playing out on American soil.

“This ain’t supposed to be going down. Not in America. We got our chest out, we got the money, we got the cars, we got the celebrities, we got the stars, everybody wants to be like us. All these other countries when I go there, they’re inspired by us,” he says. “Seeing people talk about how they can’t pay their bills but they have to work. That’s some slave shit. I don’t really get into it politics because I’m usually on the other side of it. There’s black mothers with jobs, and now you take their jobs away. And then the president, I don’t really want to speak on him but he’s rich. Make a nigga respect you, because a nigga don’t respect you. He’s rich and has these folks struggling.”

As of today, CNN reports that a speedy and full reopening of the government is bleak. And Offset’s comments are a reminder that even though circumstances are bleak, no one, including pop culture’s most prominent figures, can afford to ignore what’s happening. With such overwhelming effects on so many Americans, outward objection against the shutdown and its peril is critical.

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