The RNC’s Convention Playlist Is Full of Artists Who Detest Trump

Have you ever looked at Donald Trump and pictured him getting down to “Despacito”? Popping his geriatric kneecaps to “God’s Plan”? Well, the Republican National Committee has. The RNC featured both songs in the first installment of a playlist series aimed at generating hype around its 2024 nominating convention, which will take place in Milwaukee this July and crown Trump as the party’s official presidential nominee.

Notably, the playlist features few pro-Trump artists — and none of the cringe-inducing MAGA rappers who’ve gone viral debasing themselves in the former president’s name. In fact, the first installment of the RNC’s weekly playlist series, titled “The (First Four) Trump Years,” heavily features artists who have sharply criticized the former president and his administration.

“Our first #GOPlaylist will bring you back to a time when the border was secure, gas was cheap, and life was good,” the convention’s X account wrote last week.

The playlist kicks off with the Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights,” released in 2019 at the height of the Trump administration. In 2016, three years before the song’s release, the Weeknd canceled a scheduled performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live to avoid sharing the stage with then-candidate Donald Trump. “I feel like the way I was raised was to be able to see through all the titles in this world — from religion to race,” he said at the time. “I just didn’t want to feel like I was a part of a celebration for somebody who has beliefs that [the] majority of us don’t agree with.”

Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, the collaborative duo behind the 2017 hit “Despacito,” which is also on the list, have both opposed Trump’s political ambitions. In 2020, Fonsi joined former President Barack Obama at an election-eve rally in support of President Joe Biden. In 2015, Daddy Yankee called Trump a racist during a freestyle rap.

Other prominent artists featured in the playlist — including Dua Lipa, Zedd, Bebe Rexha, Coldplay, and Post Malone — have also made clear they are no fans of the former president. “Later down the line I think we’ll be able to see very clearly, when we put someone like Trump in power, what went wrong. And the hope is we’ll learn from it,” Dua Lipa said in a 2018 interview with The Guardian.

Given Trump’s history pissing off famous musicians, the inclusion of these artists seems — at best — an oversight by the RNC, and at worst, an invitation for more public criticism from artists who want nothing to do with the Republican Party.

In 2020, the Rolling Stones threatened to sue Trump if he didn’t stop using their music at his rallies and events. That same year, the family of Tom Petty sent a cease-and-desist to the former president’s campaign over their use of “I Won’t Back Down.”

“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” the family said in a statement. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate.”

A slew of recording artists and their estates, including Queen, the White Stripes, Rihanna, Prince, Pharrell Williams, the Smiths, Elton John, Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, Linkin Park, Sinéad O’Connor, and the Village People, have similarly denied Trump the rights to use their music at his campaign events.

Drake, whose hit song “God’s Plan” was included in the RNC’s debut 2024 mix, summarized much of the industry’s feelings about the former president quite succinctly in 2017: “Fuck that man.”

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