DJ Trump Releases Music Video, Single, “Grab ‘Em”

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The new single and music video, "Grab 'Em" by DJ Trump, offers a scorching commentary of Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric.

Still from "Grab 'Em"

DJ Trump’s newly released music video, "Grab 'Em", juxtaposes Donald J. Trump's rhetoric, set to Gangsta rap samples, against a rapid collage of historical footage from more than 150 documentaries to present two opposing portraits of America. Using recordings of Trump’s speeches, “Grab ‘Em” is a parodic yet uncomfortable song as so much of Trump’s rhetoric fits unapologetically into the Gangsta rap genre. However, the music video cuts against the divisive lyrics by presenting a comprehensive look at the history of America, from its music to its protests, from its national parks to its labor force. “Grab ‘Em” is a quilt of footage that shows what has always made America great despite any rhetoric of divisiveness.

The song uses samples of Gangsta rap classics, including those by Coolio, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Dogg, as a commentary on the narcissism and self-aggrandizement common in Trump's rhetoric. The lyrics from one sample, "Imma beat dat p***y up" ("Wait (The Whisper Song)" by Ying Yang Twins), directly alludes to Trump's own "Grab them by the p***y" comment. The song also uses samples from politically oriented rap and rock, such as The Coup and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”. In the chorus, behind chants of “U.S.A.”, the national anthem is sampled against the de facto anthem of the Confederate states, “Dixie Land.” The many musical references aim to both anchor and jolt the song’s coherence from the lyrics.

Each segment of the music video parallels the topics of the verses, including Trump’s stances on protestors, domestic issues, and foreign policy. The music video begins as a parody of Gangsta rap by focusing on Trump's wealth and the extravagance of his lifestyle, but it quickly presents footage of the average American, across many decades, as a contrast to the footage of Trump and his words (“I’m really rich”).

When the next verse moves into Trump’s stance on protestors - "Throw them out into the cold"; "I'd like to punch him in the face" – the video presents an unparalleled look at the protest movements of the last century. From women’s suffrage to the 2017 Women’s March, from Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter, the video also focuses on the physical brutality each of these movements suffered. The 'foreign policy' segment features photographs of soldiers from the Civil War to footage of contemporary soldiers cut against Trump's hawkish rhetoric ("Wipe out their homes”; "Take out their families [in the Middle East]"). Subsequent sections focus on the beauty of the United States, wealth inequality, and Wall Street.

The music video is literally divided into split-screens, a left and right side, with footage of Trump often in the center, dividing the two. Watched in its intended split-screen, it moves too rapidly to take everything in at once. Resultantly, the video is also released as just the left or right side. Yet, when watching just one side, the viewer also misses the other side of the picture, leaving an altogether different experience.

Ultimately, “Grab ‘Em”, aims to undercut the divisive and partisan rhetoric the country is steeped in by demonstrating that although this country’s history is one of division and partisanship, it is also one that, at its best moments, rises above and moves the country forward.

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