Los Angeles rapper YG gave the summer its most jubilant protest anthem with "FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)," a catchy middle-finger track featuring fellow Californian Nipsey Hussle. YG and executive producer Steve Carless claim that the song was so incendiary, lines like "All the niggas in the hood wanna fight you/I'm surprised El Chapo ain't tried to snipe you" resulted in calls from the Secret Service to his label, Def Jam. Ultimately, the lines ended up partially blanked out on the MC's critically acclaimed, political-leaning second album, Still Brazy.
Undaunted, YG is heading out on the 52-date Fuck Donald Trump Tour and recently dropped "FDT Pt. 2," a remix featuring white rappers G-Eazy and Macklemore that showcases that the depth of his message crosses racial boundaries. Rolling Stone caught up with the rapper to talk about the delightfully blunt track.
What was the moment where you felt it was important for you to step in and do something?
I was tired of just having conversations within the homies. Me and Nip was having a conversation about it and that's what topped it off. ... We always talk about doing things about shit that's going on in the communities but we never did it. But this time, we was like fuck that.
How did the lyrics end up censored on the album?
The Secret Service started calling in about the song when it got released. The song didn't release through Def Jam; we just leaked it. So then, weeks passed. I'm turning in my album and the song was. … It's goin' crazy. I saw that and I'm like, "Damn. I need to put this on the album." We had to censor damn near a big part of the song. But I did it because the record was important. I'm like, "Man, this shit got to be on the album. Fuck it."
If you had put up a fight, it probably would've delayed the record or been cut entirely?
Did you fight for the censorship aspect of it?
We changed some shit up, but it was basically saying the same things, but we took his name out. They wasn't havin' that shit.
Artists like Kendrick Lamar and Vic Mensa are very explicitly political, but your song has the bluntness of Eighties or Nineties political rap.
Exactly. Me as an artist, Nip as an artist, we very straight up and down. You feel me? It is what it is. It ain't no hidden messages when we rapping. If it's a message, you gon' know what the fuck we talkin' 'bout. We gon' talk about it straight like that. With that record, I told Nip, "Like, bro, we gotta make a song called 'Fuck Donald Trump' 'cause bro, that's how we really feel." So I did the hook exactly like that.
Have you caught any other blowback?
When the record first came out, some shows were being canceled, but I think that shit is over with. When I perform it sometimes, depending on where I'm at — like when I was on G-Eazy's tour — in some states we was in, there was Trump supporters. So when I performed the record, you would just see 'em staring in the crowd. Just staring. Everybody else is goin' crazy and it would be just a group of motherfuckers here and they're just staring like, "What the fuck?" [Laughs] Real shit. But besides that, it's been a lot of motherfuckers been showing love.
When you see the people who are kind of mean-mugging and not really reacting to "Fuck Donald Trump," are they always white?
Yeah, yeah, no, for sure. 'Cause, you know, the Hispanics and the blacks, don't none of them fuck with Trump.
So you actually had shows canceled?
A couple promoters and venues was sayin' I can't come up there. They didn't tell me ["FDT"] was the reason. They was just like "Nah, we can't have YG." One was at USC at the Palace and then there was a couple other shows in there somewhere. The police on campus said I can't come on campus. I was supposed to perform and then they was like, "Yeah, nah. YG can't come here. If he do come up here, we shuttin' the show down" or some shit.
And this tour is actually going to be called the "FDT Tour"?
Yeah, the Fuck Donald Trump Tour.
And one dollar of every ticket is going to be donated to families of victims of police brutality.
Yeah. That was some team shit, you know. Like, we was just trying to really make the tour mean something real besides the "Fuck Trump" thing, because I don't want nobody to think I'm just trying to do this to capitalize off what's going on and his name. It's like nah, like I'm really out here for the people. And I'm gonna show y'all in so many different ways.
And so far, the venues have been pretty open to the Fuck Donald Trump Tour?
Yeah, and I think it's because now since the song's been out for so long, everybody fuck with the song, and Trump just kept doing fucked-up, disrespectful, making-himself-look-dumb-type shit. Nobody fuck with Trump. So I think, them people, they like, "No, we can't stop YG from coming in here, cause … Fuck Donald Trump, he right."
Why was it important for you to do a white-boy remix with G-Eazy and Macklemore?
I was just doing that because I wanted to put out there to the world and Trump face. ... I don't know if he know or he don't know, that his own kind don't fuck with him like that. You feel me? I wanted to put that out there. Like, your own people don't fuck with you. When Obama was running for president, he had all the blacks. Was not no blacks saying they don't fuck with Obama. And it's like Trump, your own kind don't fuck with you. Everybody that I come across on some regular, like, seein' 'em at restaurants, just people in the music business, people I had conversations with, that's like not black or Hispanic, that's white, they all feel like "fuck Trump." [Laughs] Like, yeah, this shit is crazy. Don't nobody fuck with him.
Your label 4Hunnid just signed a label deal with Interscope.
What are your plans as a label owner?
Aw, man, we just building artists and building brands. We only entertain artists in situations that we feel can be here for 10, 20 years, you feel me? So when it come to, like, who we choose to deal with, we very picky. And we gon' start announcing some of our signees real soon. It's a real family-orientated thing. That's how it's starting off. And yeah, bro, like we just about to take over. We trying to do like fucking Roc-a-Fella and them did, back in the day. We trying to to do what Death Row and them did back in the day, without all the drama and shit though.
What are your plans for your next record?
I'm in the studio still. I'm just rapping right now. My last two albums was real conceptual, so I really didn't spend no time doing what YG do on the regular. Like how I fell in love with this music shit. And that was just me just rapping about whatever I felt I wanna rap about when I hear a beat. And that's what I've been in the studio doing.
Are you actively pro-Hillary right now?
I ain't pro-nobody. I'm just pro–"Fuck Trump."