For nearly 40 years, since the release of The Last Poets’ debut album, some form of hip-hop has had an impact on the American cultural landscape. The music has had an obvious on style, speech and sound. But we must not overlook the role rap has played in our nation’s politics. Hip-hop has been an agitator (Public Enemy, the Stop the Violence Movement), an antagonist (Ice-T, 2 Live Crew) and now, more often, an ally (Ludacris, Jay-Z). theGrio tracks the evolution of the relationship between the elites of rap and politics over the decades, here are the highlights…

For more on the hip-hop and politics series from theGrio click here and for more from AllHipHop.com click here.