...and the answer is a big, loud YES. This article from Al Jazeera is very, very, very interesting as it lays down and explains the fact that the White House is using rap as a promotionnal tool or shall we say, to give to islamic countries around the world another look at racial and religious integration.
It isn't the first time the USA uses such device, and why not ? They had already send jazz bands around Africa to counter-balance Russian propaganda there, back during the Cold War, and the CIA has used Jackson Pollock*** as proof of the freedom allowed to the individuals and artists in the USA in the 50's...
Hillary Clinton makes no mystery the White House uses rap as a promotionnal tool and when asked about it, this is what she replies (quote from Al Jazeera) :
*"You have to bet at the end of the day, people will choose freedom over tyranny if they're given a choice," Clinton observed of the State Department's hip hop programme in Syria - stating that cultural diplomacy is a complex game of "multidimensional chess". "Hip hop can be a chess piece?" asked the interviewer. "Absolutely!" responded the secretary of state.
Where it starts to be funny, and only to demonstrate how something can be seen with more than an angle, is that rap within the USA is said to be macho and totally mysoginistic and consumerist, violent, responsable for dropping out of school, drugs dependancy, gangs, etc...but it is used outside of the USA as an example of integration (quite a few US rappers are muslims), self expression and freedom within the American Way of Life. Rap is very opportunistically projected to show it's also a music of struggles and opinions being debated in the open and the White House wants to use that as a leverage with youngs in the islamic worlds, hoping their anger (seen recently with the Arab Spring) will be smoothered by rap music and therefore their opinion of the USA will be more positive.
Who said music can't change people ?
the Al Jzaeera excellent article: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/10/2011103091018299924.html
***Jackson Pollock and the CIA: Eva Cockcroft, ‘Abstract Expressionism, Weapon of the Cold War’ in Artforum vol.12, no.10, June 1974, pp. 43–54.