By Jason Arline
While the public has become no stranger to Kanye West’s ties in politics with his recent announcement to run in the 2020 presidential election and his former endorsement of Donald Trump, many rappers have sought similar political ventures.
As artists, rappers share a connection with their communities and the places they chose to call home. This has always been well represented within their music.
Most rappers seek changes within their communities and take it upon themselves to run for office so they can then ensure that the needs of the community are met.
Houston native Brad Jordan, better known for his stage name “Scarface”, ran for Houston City Council in 2019. His platform was based on providing support for native businesses, storm preparations, youth programs, infrastructure repair and improving senior citizens’ quality of life.
In the end, Jordan lost the election in a runoff with Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, but he surprised everyone with how close he came to winning.
Another notable rapper to run for office is Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike, who ran for Georgia state representative in 2015. A strong advocate for education and police reform, Killer Mike, who’s official name is Michael Render, created a strong following leading up to the election, but ultimately had to drop out due to logistic reasons.
Render has continued to be a voice for change in his community and in response, Atlanta named July 17th ‘Killer Mike’ Render Day as a testament to all his work. Render has expressed that he wants to run for political office in the future once he has finished rapping, but remains a pillar of his community despite not having any title.
Famous Hip Hop group 2 Live Crew’s Uncle Luke also ran for mayor in his hometown of Miami-Dade County. Uncle Luke, also known as Luther Campbell, said he was tired of seeing other cities showing growth and development, while it seemed that his own was stagnating.
Campbell felt that the elected officials weren’t doing anything and told the people what they wanted to hear to keep their jobs. His platform was based on creating more jobs, affordable housing and finely tuning the county budget.
Campbell lost the election but did receive 10% of the vote (10,982 people). He proved to the politicians that common people without special agendas can run for office and be taken seriously.
While Campbell hasn’t run since 2011, he has remained active in his community by showing support for former mayor Philip Levine and by coaching high school football.
Rappers represent their communities in everything they do. To rap is to speak out on what you’ve seen and experienced within your life.
It’s the words of the common man that are shared and felt by the communities in which they originate. America is a land founded upon the words and rebellion of the common man projected at the ruling authority.
Rappers are often representatives of the common man and aspire to make the changes most politicians do not.
In this constantly changing social climate, those in authority need to listen to people’s needs. Hip-Hop has been the music of the people for years and it’s about time that the politicians start listening.
Featured image by Jason Arline.