Editorial: Ben Carson is Trolling Us With His new Rap Ad

by Jason Johnson /  / Updated 
Image: Ben Carson
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is interviewed in Little Rock, Ark., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)Danny Johnston / AP

Can we just agree that Republicans and rap aren’t usually a good combination?

This doesn’t mean the GOP is universally against rap music, we all love the dope beats of D.J. Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio will still desperately try to convince us that he likes the Wu-Tang Clan. But when it comes to actually producing rap music for politics, Republicans need to get back in the lab with a pen and a pad and figure out how to get their beats tight.

So it should come as no surprise that Ben Carson’s recent “rap release”, created to attract young black voters flopped harder than 50’s last album.

This week the Carson campaign dropped a rap radio commercial entitled “Freedom” that will run for two weeks in major urban markets including Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Memphis and Detroit.

Produced and rapped by “Aspiring Mogul”, a conservative Republican rapper, a Carson campaign spokesperson states that the song is “…reaching out and talking to them [Black folks] in a language that they prefer and in a language that, and in a cultural format that they appreciate”.

I could have saved the Carson campaign the 150K they just spent on this ad and informed them that this will do absolutely nothing to ingratiate him to black voters — or anyone else with musical taste, a voter ID card or three brain cells to rub together to form a political opinion.

As a song “Freedom” is terrible. Carson isn’t the most dynamic speaker on his best day, so splicing his banal quotes over Mogul’s raps and a beat that’s too fast only makes him sound more dull and out of touch than he occasionally sounds live.

This is the kind of dated rap beat that your uncle throws on before splashing himself with Drakkar Noir, putting on some mandals and heading to the CIAA fish fry.

And about those beats... This is the kind of dated rap beat that your uncle throws on before splashing himself with Drakkar Noir, putting on some mandals and heading to the CIAA fish fry.

The whole song sounds like something from the B-side of an early 90’s rap cassette you’d get for free with the purchase of fries and a Mc DLT.

I could go on but there’s plenty of music and technical criticism out there on social media dragging this nonsense. At this point going in on Carson any further would amount to cyberbullying. But there is a larger point here beyond just lousy music.

This song/commercial release just re-enforces the belief in many corners of the press and punditry that Ben Carson isn’t serious about running for president.

No competent campaign in 2015 thinks that rapping is going to get black votes, and even Carson seemed oblivious to or only mildly supportive of the effort. So either his campaign team has run amok or he just doesn’t care how he’s presented to the black community.

My vote is A and B. In the meantime I’m sure that Aspiring Mogul is going to enjoy his 15 minutes of fame.

Republicans have a pretty lousy history of racist, misogynistic or downright ineffective campaign rap, and this commercial disaster was probably the best job application he could submit.