Order In Da House: The best and worst politicians turned rappers
12:50 28 March 2014
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Everyone has heard the story of Ronald Reagan using Bruce Springsteen’s anti-war anthem Born In The USA on the campaign trail in the 1980s, but nowadays politicians are more likely to turn to rap to embarrass themselves.
Michael Gove tried to get ‘down with the kids’ this week when he sang a verse from the Wham! Rap on a school visit.
Whether or not the Minister for Education does indeed have ‘street credibility’ is open for debate.
London rapper Dave In Charge raised eyebrows after telling the Ham&High that he is “able to understand the American ghetto situations because I had the political background”. His grandparents are Lord and Lady Palmer of Childs Hill, Liberal Democrat councillors for the Barnet ward.
Perhaps keen to distance himself from plummy Cabinet member Gove, he is keen to point out on his website that he is ‘not rich, didn’t go to private school and I am down to earth’.
It turns out that merging rap and politics isn’t just an English phenomenon. Last month, America’s First Lady, Michelle Obama, spoke up for healthy eating when she rapped about…wraps:
On a more traditional hiphop theme, two politicians even got into a rap battle over drugs in Holland.
Gerd Leers, the mayor of a town popular with ‘cannabis tourists’, released a single about drug laws called That’s Just Dope.
The lyrics hit out at the hypocrisy of drug laws:
“A joint is allowed, as long as the grower is never seen,
That’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
Don’t be so hypocritical,
Allowing half doesn’t work.”
Unsurprisingly, it became a hit with the Legalise Cannabis movement.
Not to be outdone, the Dutch Justice Minister, Piet Hein Donner, hit back with his own song under the appropriately gangster stage name ‘The Don’:
The chorus translates as:
“This is Donner of the Just-ice,
I work with the pol-ice,
I shove that dope aside,
Because an addicted Netherlands,
Is something I don’t want to see.”
It wasn’t quite a feud worthy of 2pac and the Notorious B.I.G.
It’s easy to imagine politicians daydreaming of a more exciting career as a rapper during long, dull meetings, but you wouldn’t expect hiphop stars to swap the high life for a spot on the local council. However, rapper P. Xain of Goldie Lookin’ Chain did just that.
Now when he isn’t singing hit songs like Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do and Your Mother’s Got A Penis, he is Labour councillor for St Julian’s ward in Newport.
P. Xain – or Rhys Hutchings as he is known off-stage – decided to hang up his microphone when he went to some council meetings to arrange gigs for the comedy rap band.
He told the Guardian: “I actually went to some council meetings and I was quite amazed at what goes on there, and realised I could make a difference myself.”