In lieu of the debate, we caught up with our politics at the Smirnoff Experience New York party, with sets from N.E.R.D. and Nas. Pharrell — sans Chad Hugo, fueling Neptunes breakup rumors — was on first and juiced the room, mostly ignoring current affairs for the timeless refrain of “Lapdance”: “Politicians is soundin’ like strippers to me / They keep sayin’ but I don’t wanna hear it / Oooh baby you want me?” Then, apparently to demonstrate typical politician behavior, he handpicked a bunch of booty-shaking chicks for an onstage dance party. “I wanna fuck tonight — ’cause I’m feeling horny,” Pharrell declared at one point. The women all seemed to agree. Very subversive stuff.
Then, with no set break, Nas bounded onstage, trying to get in before curfew. We were pretty sure who he was talking about with his opener, “Black President,” but he got off the politics for a minute, running through “NY State of Mind” and “If I Ruled the World” (with wife Kelis filling in for Lauryn Hill), and generally just looked like a top contender in a Coolest Person Alive tournament. Later he reminded us he knew something about heated contests, playing off a chant for “Ether” and pointing out “that was the greatest rap battle in history … and I won it.” “I don’t believe in politicians,” Nas added, “I believe in the people.” And then, just to make sure we knew which politicians he especially doesn’t believe in, he dropped a few “Fuck John McCain”s on his way out. We know who we’re voting for — Nas in ’08!