Up until a few days ago, it was easy to assume that Senator Barack Obama is the overwhelming favorite presidential candidate of music-makers from urban communities. MCs such as Jay-Z, Nas, Big Boi, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Common and Diddy have all openly said that the Illinois politician needs to be the next man in the White House. The King of Reggaetón, however, has a different opinion.
Daddy Yankee surprised many earlier this week when he showed up at a Phoenix high school and gave a glowing recommendation for Republican Senator John McCain.
"I believe in his ideals and his proposals to lead this nation," Yankee said. "He's been a fighter for the Hispanic community."
The news of Yankee's endorsement left a sour taste in the mouth of one of the Hispanic community's most visible and verbal leaders: Fat Joe.
"Put this in the MTV News headline: 'Fat Joe Says Daddy Yankee Is a Sellout,' " the MC said via phone from Denver, where he's attending the Democratic National Convention. "Just like that! I gotta go in. I'm talking to little cousins that like [Yankee] and all that, and they're starting to believe that John McCain is [the best candidate]. I can't have that.
"I opened the newspaper and got sick to my stomach," Joe continued. "I felt like I wanted to vomit when I seen that. The reason why I called him a sellout is because I feel he did that for a [publicity] look, rather than the issues that are affecting his people that look up to him. How could you want John McCain in office when George Bush and the Republicans already have half a million people losing their homes in foreclosure? We're fighting an unjust war. It's the Latinos and black kids up in the frontlines, fighting that war. ... We over here trying to take the troops out of Iraq and bring peace. This guy immediately wants war. If not with Iraq or Afghanistan, he'll start a new one with Iran. I feel real disgusted that Daddy Yankee would do that. Either he did that for a look, or he's just not educated on politics."
Joe said he's more than willing to educate Yankee on each of the politicians' platforms.
"If he believes John McCain is the better candidate for the Latinos," Joe said, "we could sit down. Even if he wants to get into a debate, we can debate anywhere — New York, Puerto Rico."
The Grammy-nominated lyricist is especially enthralled with Obama's promise for improved and universal health care. That issue still hits home for the rap veteran.
"Like I said, with me, my whole philosophy on blacks and Latinos is: We're all one," he said. "We're in the same ghettos, same inner cities, and we're suffering from the same problems. Every problem the blacks have, the Latinos have. There's two systems of health care: the one for the rich that's really good, then there's the one for the inner city, where they leave ladies in the emergency room unattended for 24 hours until they drop dead. ... People don't even check on her hours after she's dead. This is normal stuff. This is what's happening in the U.S."
Joe blames inferior health care for a tragedy he and his family suffered years ago.
"My own sister — to me she was murdered by doctors," he claimed. "She was having a baby in the Bronx, and they gave her an epidural — a normal procedure that was supposed to numb her from the waist down. They numbed her from the waist up, because they had amateurs learning in the Bronx hospitals. Not even real doctors — students murdered my sister in the inner city, in the Bronx. I love what Barack is doing with the heath care system. Once he gets universal health care for everybody, then we gotta step up our system to make it the best in the world."
Joe arrived in Denver on Wednesday after performing in New York City with the Game the previous night. He was moved by speeches on consecutive evenings by Hillary and Bill Clinton.
"That was beautiful, man," he said. "I'm a huge fan of the Clintons. I love Hillary; I love Bill. They hit home runs out the park. I was so excited when Bill was speaking. It reminded me of why I love him. He's articulate, so smart. Greatest president of our era. When he was here, we had peace. Yasser Arafat of Palestine and the prime minister of Israel, shaking hands and hugging, bringing peace in the Middle East, not war! Everybody had jobs. The economy was growing. George Bush and the Republicans turned the whole country around to where our dollar is worth half the Euro dollar. Your man John McCain wants to continue the same tactics of the Bush organization. Why should my man Daddy Yankee be endorsing McCain? This is the only urban guy in the universe to endorse John McCain. You got people who look up to [Yankee] — young teenagers that look up to him and might make the wrong choice. John McCain is the wrong thing to do. I don't think the Republicans care much about minorities. I can't believe [Yankee] went and endorsed this guy."
Fat Joe would also like to change the perception of his country in the eyes of the rest of the world.
"I travel the world doing shows, and people hate the United States because of the policies of George Bush," he explained. "Years ago, you would go overseas, and the people would praise you and love the United States. I feel Barack Obama is the one person who could bring not just the United States, but the world together. I was in Africa two days ago, and I seen people with 'I Love Obama' on their bumper sticker. He just spoke to 200,000 people in Germany."
Now more than ever, Joe said he realizes the importance of participating in this upcoming election.
"Fat Joe says it's not an option to vote," he insisted. "We have to vote and change this country around. Everybody has to get out there and register. I'm not asking, I'm telling you to go vote. I'm forcing you."
A rep for Daddy Yankee said the MC is out of the country and won't be available for comment until next week.