The Gangsta Rap Campaign Attack

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Competing in a three-way Republican primary, Tennessee congressional hopeful George Flinn has become the subject of an unlikely campaign to portray him as a gangsta rap overlord.

The latest campaign attack in Tennessee’s 8th district has assailed Flinn for owning a Memphis radio station, Hot 107.1 FM, which bills itself as broadcasting “Non-Stop Hip-Hop,” Politico‘s Alex Isenstadt reports. Behind the offensive is the brother of Ronald Kirkland, one of Flinn’s primary opponents, who’s spent nearly $1 million on ad expenditures in the campaign. “A TV ad hammers Flinn for broadcasting music that ‘promotes gang violence, drug abuse, and insults women,’ while a companion mailer accuses him of bringing ‘filthy gangster rap into our district,'” writes Isenstadt.

Commercial hip-hop has become so mainstream and anodyne that it’s hard to see the attempt to paint Flinn as the next Suge Knight gaining much traction, even in a GOP Tennessee primary. In a neighboring district, in fact, another House candidate made a memorable attempt to use his hip-hop cred to his advantage. Behold Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), who broke it down for supporters in the majority-black 9th district:

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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