The Gangsta Rap Campaign Attack

| Wed Jul. 14, 2010 11:07 AM EDT

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: