When Republican party chairman Michael Steele said "We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings," was this what he had in mind?
I met the world's first self-proclaimed "Republican rapper" on the second day of the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference. He is Hi-Caliber, a former construction worker from New Jersey who told me that after just 10 minutes of listening to right-wing radio shock jock Michael Savage ranting about "Islamofascism" and illegal immigration, his "whole views on the world changed." Now Hi-Caliber records inspired battle anthems against President Barack Obama, who he denounces as a "socialist in the White House;" he attacks Nancy Pelosi as "phony baloney;" assails the liberal media; calls for a border fence; and warns darkly of the Fairness Doctrine.
Now, political music is a slippery slope; the subtlety and nuance that give class and listenability to a great song often exist at the expense of the message. Indeed, anyone who's dabbled in protest music can attest to the fact that a "What's Goin' On" or a "For What It's Worth" doesn't come easy.
Still, as long as Hi-Caliber finds his inspiration listening to Michael Savage, and clearly NOT the hip-hop stations where Nas and B.I.G. could teach him a thing or two about flow, the G.O.P.'s new hip-hop revolution will be led by an MC who finds it reasonable to rhyme "Conservative" with "Jersey Kid".