— Charles Rangel (@cbrangel) June 24, 2014
As soon as someone wants to reach young people, where do they turn? To hip hop. Or, more specifically, they start rapping. And the rap song, inevitably, will be the worst rap you hear all day, if not all week.
Rep. Charlie Rangel is the latest to fall into this rap trap. (Haha! Lame.) Today’s primary day in New York and the same candidate who nearly beat him in the last election, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, is back and giving him a run for his money.
Moreover, African-American voters who have historically been a solid base for him, may now be split with an up-and-comer, Rev. Michael A. Walrond Jr. Rangel’s seat doesn’t look threatened, but you never know how it will go when the votes are counted. Ask Eric Cantor.
So in an attempt to be young and hip (Rep. Rangel is 84 years old and says this will be his last run for office), he’s enlisted someone to rap and it’s worse than that time Barney Rubble rapped about Fruity Pebbles.
The song was only uploaded yesterday and provides all sorts of biographical information:
He was born in Harlem, got a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star earned them in the Army … graduated NYU and that was back in 1957 then he went to St. John’s and became a legal weapon.
Ultimately, this little ditty isn’t really telling you the important things about Rangel or what exactly you’d be voting for. The New York Observer points out that this final election for Rangel is much like his first one, but the roles have changed:
“Rangel’s present-day challenger, Adriano Espaillat, is now cast in the role that Rangel himself played when he stunned Adam Clayton Powell in a 1970 Democratic primary. But 44 years of incumbency, the loss of a powerful committee chairmanship to scandal, and a humiliating rebuke from his own House colleagues have created for the 84-year-old Rangel many of the same vulnerabilities that he exploited when he knocked off Powell all those decades ago.”
But putting aside politics (continue reading that article to learn more about both the demographic and political shift that’s occurring and this one to see how things stand today), there’s the question of whether this is the sort of thing that will appeal to a target audience. Short answer: No. One of Rep. Rangel’s trademarks, besides his immaculate hair, is his gravelly wonderful voice. Someone else is doing the rapping, so it takes away from the thing that the candidate is most known for.
Besides that, just putting something to a hip-hop beat isn’t going to attract a target audience — young, African American/”urban” or whatever — no matter what audience it is. In this case, it’s just not the right fit for this candidate. But as a general rule, rapping does not mean that the kids will come running.