Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Rap Genius Breaks Down Trey Radel’s ‘Why I’m a Hip Hop Conservative’

Trey Radel, in his ceremonial swearing in photo, seems an unlikely "Hip Hop Conservative"

Radel, in a ceremonial swearing-in photo, seems an unlikely “hip hop conservative.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Rap Genius community embraced Florida Republican Rep. Trey Radel this past weekend.

An essay Radel authored to explain “Why I’m a Hip Hop Conservative,” originally published by BuzzFeed, was added to the user-generated rap music review site Aug. 10.

Rap Genius posts lyrics, news and speeches related to hip-hop music, then allows users to annotate and interpret the meaning. This particular post appeared on the News Genius portion of the site.

By Monday afternoon, 17 pop-up annotations had been added to Radel’s 633-word speech. With encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, users fact-checked Radel’s references to lyrics and rappers (Eric B., of  Eric B and Rakim, was a D.J., “not a rapper,” one pointed out). They also expanded on a few autobiographical references that Radel dropped into the essay. One noted that the three languages he speaks are English, Spanish and Italian. Another added a brightly colored marijuana graphic about “4/20” to represent his April 20, 1976, birth date.

The site rewards good contributions with “RapIQ,” and users who spit enough knowledge are eventually able to edit anything on the site. One editor with lots of clout linked Radel’s essay to a lyric in “Dumb Out” by rapper Joe Budden: “Let me find out hip-hop’s turning Republican.”

Radel’s entry won him some high praise from a Twitter follower, Trevar Dye (@trevardye), which he subsequently retweeted:


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