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#Salute Rebecca Ferguson for refusing her invitation to play Donald Trump‘s inaugural ball — unless she can sing Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.”

We’re with you, Rebecca X.

And if The Donald is real enough to oblige, we have a few more musical suggestions that might help re-define his already tarnished presidency and maybe, just maybe, make America great for once.


Donald Trump’s Inaugural Playlist 2017


#1. “Strange Fruit” – Billie Holiday via Rebecca Ferguson

Billie Holiday‘s eulogy to the countless black bodies lynched in the Jim Crow south and beyond has been called “The first great protest song.”

Just in case the Donald and his team didn’t get the message in Rebecca’s song choice, the president-elect should celebrate his big win by remembering the popular culture of the time he so badly wants to return this country to.
And don’t sleep on Nina Simone‘s cover, recorded decades later during the Civil Rights movement. It’s just as moving as Holiday’s, and proof that the scars Great America inflicts carry through generations.


#2. “Blood On The Leaves/All Falls Down” – Kanye West & Lauryn Hill

Kanye can try to get back on everyone’s good side by performing one of his last great songs (which just so happens to be a perfect transition from Ferguson’s cover).
But it can’t be Trump’s buddy, The New Kanye, that performs on January 20, 2017.
We need the Kanye who shitted on consumerism over an unauthorized Lauryn Hill sample. Before he turned into the rich man collecting blood money for designer sneakers.

If the Old Kanye spits the line “Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in coop,” in the White House, Trump probably won’t get it or even hear it. But maybe the New Kanye will.

And if Lauryn never shows up, at least we’ll have a good idea why.


#3. “If I Ruled The World” – Nas, Lauryn Hill & Kurtis Blow

If Lauryn does show, she should bring Nas and Kurtis Blow for an inter-generational rendition of “If I Ruled The World.”

Nas might come if they let him spark a blunt on the White House lawn, but would he be able to get in Trump’s ear about opening every cell from Rikers to Attica?

Either way, the Donald would also be wise to take advice from the O.G. Kurtis Blow’s original rendition.

His opening line, “I’d make peace in every culture, build the homeless a home,” might sound too pacifist and communist for America’s capitalist spirit. But we’ll see how many Trump voters are singing and clapping along with Kurtis when they can’t get healthcare or birth control and they’re slaving off America’s debts to the Chinese.

#4 “We All Try” – Frank Ocean
The enigmatic Frank Ocean could do the impossible and make Trump think with his brilliant lyrics about the best and worst of humanity on, “We All Try.”

It’s doubtful that lyrics like, “I believe that marriage isn’t between a man and woman, but between love and love,” will stick with Trump or his anti-gay Vice President. But young Frank‘s optimism will be needed by the rest of us over the next four years.
His words might offer some comfort to those who’ve already given up hope in Trump’s presidency and the nation that elected him:
“I still believe in Man. A wise one asked me, ‘Why?’ ‘Cause, I just don’t believe we’re wicked, I know that we sin, but I do believe we try. We all try.” – Frank Ocean
4. Death Certificate – Ice Cube

Since he was so interested in Barack Obama‘s birth certificate for the past four years, Donald should check out Oshea’s second solo album, Death Certificate, for some genuine research on the African American experience.
After NWA and before Are We There Yet, Cube was one of the world’s most radical MC’s. His raw political commentary and unapologetic rage might frighten some of Trump’s White House. But Cube would definitely change his set list to Amerikkka’s Most Wanted to appease Trump’s friends on the Alt-Right.
#5. “Respect” – Aretha Franklin

Donald obviously needs a refresher course on the general principle of respect. And he will definitely get one if he tries to grab Queen Aretha by the anything. Best believe that secret service wouldn’t be able to remove Re-Re’s microphone from The Donald’s behind. And C-SPAN would have ownership of the most valuable viral video of all time.
#6. “What Means The World To You?” – Cam’Ron

This is an important question for the future leader of the free world to consider. And the Dipset Capo and future Commander-In-Chief might just get along well given their cult appeal and shared talent for political incorrectness.

Who knows? Donald could end up having Killa and Juelz Santana help design ultra-patriotic uniforms for the military or console wounded soldiers.

Or, Trump could offer Cam a position as a media mercenary to deal with Megyn Kelly, The New York Times and whoever else antagonizes him during his term.

Never forget how masterfully Cam handled Bill O’Reilly and Anderson Cooper back in the day.

7. “Relax, Don’t Do It” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

This isn’t just for those late nights when Donald is battling restless Twitter fingers or considering pushing the nuclear button.
This is the song we should all want playing in President Trump’s subconscious as he considers pretty much every decision from here on out.
#8. “Follow The Leader/Ain’t No Half-Steppin” – Eric B., Rakim & Big Daddy Kane

For all the disrespect he showed his predecessor, I hope the Donald was paying attention. Because with the odds and a Republican majority against him, Barack Obama nearly reversed a recession and held down the White House for two terms without a scandal or assassination attempt. But Trump may have missed all of that while he was busy defrauding his business school students and acting an ass on reality TV.
It’s probably too late to transform Trump into a real leader, but maybe two of the first God MC’s can humble The Donald and show him how real kings get down.

#9. “No Air” – Chris Brown and Jordin Sparks

Jordin and Breezy need to re-unite and speak on behalf of the millennial generation by bringing awareness to the air and water pollution Trump and his cabinet will surely ignore.

Trump and his old boys won’t be here in a few decades to deal with the toxic remnants of the Industrial Revolution. But maybe the angelic voices of Jordin and Chris will remind him to consider the future, if only for long enough to let a scientist explain the reality of climate change.


#10. “Black Republican” – Jay Z & Nas

It’s time Trump realized that Omarosa, Ben Carson and Clarence Thomas are not reliable representatives of the Black community.
And if Nas ever doubted or second-thought his 2006 proclamation that Hip Hop Is Dead, he’ll feel sure of it while MC’ing for Trump and his cabinet alongside the Jigga man.
#11. “A Woman’s Threat” – R. Kelly

Whether it’s Melania, Hillary or his small handful of ex-wives, Trump has a lot of ladies who have the right to be pissed off with him.

The pied piper can relate to his situation in more ways than one. And R’s warning about the pain of a woman’s wrath may be just what Donald needs to straighten up and fly right before he ends up on the first presidential special episode of Snapped.
#12. “On & On” – Erykah Badu

A reminder that this world was here before The Donald and will be here long after him.

As Erykah sings:
“Peace and blessings manifest with every lesson learned, if your knowledge were your wealth then it would be well-earned… The man that knows something knows that he knows nothing at all, does it seem colder in your summer time and warmer in your fall?… You rush into destruction cause you don’t have nothing left, the mothership can’t save you so your ass is gon’ get left.”
Even with his tiny, shaky fingers on the button, we know that Donald doesn’t have the power to kill us all.
But is he aware that he will one day have to answer for all transgressions against God’s children?
#13. “Survival Of The Fittest” – Mobb Deep

Prodigy‘s infamous line, “There’s a war going on outside no man is safe from, it don’t matter if you’re three-feet or eight one,” applies to this President more than any before him.

Trump may feel safe behind the Secret Service and America’s nukes, but before he rushes us off to war, he should consider the fact that he could end up a casualty of his own war just like the young men and women he wouldn’t hesitate to send off to combat.
#14. “No Flex Zone” – Rae Sremmurd

Trump will never be able to ball as outrageously as the world’s true oil tycoons and royal families. And he wouldn’t want any problems with real tyrants like Putin or our any third-world dictators if they met face to face.

With that in mind, Donald needs to limit the flexing and flossing he’s enjoyed as a celebrity if he wants to make it out of his term unscathed. If Parisian stick-up kids can get to Kim Kardashian, no one is safe.
#15. “9 AM In Dallas” – Drake


“Scared for the first time, everything has clicked, what if I don’t really the numbers they predict?/Considering the fact that I’m the one they just picked to write a chapter in history, this shit has got me sick.” – Drake circa 2009
We still don’t know if The Donald was wiping his nose from a cold or the cocaine in his debates with Hillary last fall. But it was the later, let’s hope the months since the election have sobered him up a little.
Trump can’t declare bankruptcy with the country like he did with his business. So let us hope he has the good sense to give Drizzy a call if he ever needs some pointers on standing up to the pressure.
We’ll be able to rest assured that if the pressure of writing a chapter in history is ever too much for the Donald to take, he will take a page from Drake’s book and find someone more qualified to give him a hand.

15 Performances We’d Like to See at Donald Trump’s Inauguration  was originally published on