You Down with GOP?

An obscure conservative organization peddles Republican-sanctioned hip hop to the masses

Sutton admits he was skeptical of the disc at first. "It sounds kind of strange," he says. "But then you listen to it, and it's good music and it's got a conservative message. Frankly, in order to reach out to young people in general and young African Americans specifically, we need to have somebody other than a guy in a stuffed shirt with a suit and tie on." Sutton says he wasn't aware of CORAD's Web site. Having perused it, he professes surprise at the group's fondness for comparing political opponents to Nazis and Klan members, but he sees no reason for the GOP to distance itself from the group. Deeming CORAD's rhetoric "a little politically incorrect," Sutton adds, "Compared to what liberals call us, [referring to them as Nazis] is probably very kind."

Rappin' Donnie: Republican activist and hip-hop lyricist Don Kennedy
Siddiqi Ray
Rappin' Donnie: Republican activist and hip-hop lyricist Don Kennedy

Meanwhile, thanks to Sutton's connections, Kennedy is planning to take his CD nationwide. He's working with the College Republicans to distribute the disc at historically black colleges and boasts that the Republican National Committee is considering granting his group $200,000 to further its efforts. (The RNC did not return a call seeking comment.) DFL Party officials say they hadn't heard of CORAD or its collaboration with the GOP. After being contacted by City Pages, the DFL hastily issued an official statement aimed at the group, condemning "any kind of political hate speech that incites anger." DFL associate chair Mary McEvoy is more blunt: "Sutton's got his head screwed on wrong," she avers. Of course, instead of getting mad, the Democrats always have the option of getting even. There'd be no need to manufacture a feud like hip hop's East Coast-West Coast rivalry: With CORAD actively raising money and rounding up support for Frank Taylor, a black Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Martin Sabo in the Fifth District, the stage is already set for a DFL disc.

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