Global news is alight with what was unequivocally an unprecedented meeting between Donald Trump and Kanye West in the Oval Office.
Donning the now iconic ‘America First' baseball cap, Mr West poured praise and adulation onto Trump as the two men sat across from one another at the president's desk on October 11.
"There was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like Superman," Kanye said in the presence of rolling cameras.
#KanyeWest has set us back 155 years. Wish #SojournerTruth could have met him outside the White House and #FrederickDouglas inside the Oval Office.@BarackObama never would have become President with this crap.— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) October 11, 2018
But, let’s meet #Kayne on #ElectionDay by voting for Democrats. https://t.co/nmapsl7pK3
#KanyeWest's extraordinary monologue in the Oval Office today is being reviewed for its flamboyant theater. Overlooked in his free flowing free association is the truth of many of his points on urban violence, trade imbalances, involuntary servitude, aka prison road gangs, etc.— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) October 11, 2018
As the two touched on everything from North Korea to the US education system, much of the world's media derided Trump and mocked the meeting as a spectacle of the absurd.
Yet, regardless of what the public may think of Trump's decision to host West, who also goes by the nickname of ‘Yeezy,' it was hardly the first of its kind. Indeed, rap stars with a far more sinister lyrical background have been invited into the Oval Office by past presidents.
Former President Barack Obama's White House invited rap superstar ‘Common' to an event billed as ‘an evening of poetry' back in 2011.
The decision was slammed in conservative media circles largely due to the rapper's controversial song lyrics sniping at former president George W. Bush and US police forces. In a song titled, ‘Letter to the Law,' Common says ‘Burn a Bush ‘cause for peace he no push no button,' and says that he has a ‘black strap to make the cops run.'
At the time, Fox News and other outlets expressed concern that Common's versus were openly and unapologetically endorsing the killing of policemen.
Yet, the White House stood steadfast by its decision.
Perhaps one of the most famous rap superstars on the planet, Jay-Z is no stranger to the marble floors of the White House. According to the Washington Post, throughout the Obama administration, he visited "several times." Moreover, the former president himself once declared Jay-Z to be a great inspiration to him, saying "Jay, you have been inspiring, making me want to be active in my retirement just as you have been in yours."
If someone had told me 5 years ago that in 2018 Donald Trump would be president and having a bromance with Kanye West in the Oval Office I would never have believed it….WHAT’S GOING ON, AMERICA? #kanyewest #kanyetrump pic.twitter.com/94nNcUlI0C— Joe Saunders (@JoeSaunders) October 11, 2018
As with his decision to invite Common to the highest office in the land, Obama was criticised again for inviting a man who regularly raps about selling drugs, including crack, and shooting people. Jay's wife, Beyonce, was also known to frequent the White House and socialise with President Obama's wife, Michelle. Some attacked the Obama's for this too, pointing at Beyonce's record for paying homage to the ‘Black Panthers,' who were known to employ violent tactics as a means broadcasting their political messages.
In 2016 an entourage of hip-hop and rap artists, including Nicki Minaj and Busta Rhymes, met with then President Obama to allegedly discuss initiatives aimed at keeping young people out of a life of crime. However eyebrows were quickly raised when it surfaced that among the group was rapper and reported drug cartel affiliate, Rick Ross. The White House meeting came not long after Ross had reportedly been charged with misdemeanour kidnapping and assault after he and his bodyguard allegedly assaulted two people working for him in 2015. Ross, along with his bodyguard, were sentenced to five years of probation after accepting the charges made against them.