Hip-Hop Politics

Welcome to Atlanta. Currently, the center of hip-hop music and home to many popular hip-hip artists. From T.I. to Big Boi and Young Jeezy to 2 Chainz, Atlanta and hip-hip are synonymous right now. Interesting enough, all four of the aforementioned artists are politically active this year.

It’s hard being a celebrity and not catching political fever when you’re surrounded by Atlanta’s rich political tradition. Be it public service announcements or participating in campaigns to inform felons of their right to vote, all of these artists are trying their hand at politics.

Another artist who is doing the same is Pras from the Fugees. The third member of the iconic hip-hop group that included Wyclef Jean and Lauren Hill is very active in politics this year. He launched a Super PAC targeting voters he used to target with his mic – young black men.

Not to be outdone by Karl Rove and other Super PACs, Pras’ Black Men Vote has spent close to $1 million on provocative radio ads in Ohio and Virginia this year. From Bloomberg.com:

Black Men Vote got active earlier this month, putting up a Web site and making radio and Internet ads, FEC records show. ..

The group’s Web site says its goal is to mobilize 18- to 34-year-old black men in Ohio and Virginia. “Collectively this population can have a tremendous impact on the election and has the most to lose by staying at home,” the site says.

Politico.com reports that industry sources expect record funding of political radio ads this year. Radio is a popular format to target specific audiences and edgy ads often slip under the mainstream media scrutiny. Black Men Vote and Pras bought into the medium as an effective way to communicate to massive amounts of voters who traditionally are not targeted by presidential campaigns. From Politico:

One of the ads includes a sound bite of Romney adviser John Sununu calling Obama “lazy,” Newt Gingrich calling him “the best food stamp president in American history” and Romney saying, “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate.”

“It’s disrespect. It’s not right,” the ad’s narrator warns. “And if they think these things about President Obama, … what do they think about you? Black men, it’s time to stand up for ourselves.” These ads target voters who are often forgotten in campaign outreach. Pras earns praise for his political activism. . .

These ads target voters who are often forgotten in campaign outreach. Pras should earn praise for his political activism.