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Wednesday, September 29, 2004 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | PREVIOUS: Public Service and Voting Rights in Arizona: A...
2004-09-29

SlamBush: Hip Hop Artists Take on the President in Mock Debate

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A Day before John Kerry and George W Bush square off in Thursday’s debate in Miami, fifteen rappers from across the country will be competing in a mock debate against President Bush. The event is called SlamBush and is aimed at getting the Hip Hop generation to vote in the November election. We speak with Wordsworth, a hip hop artist and one of the event’s organizers. [includes rush transcript]

Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry and President George W Bush are in the midst of their final preparations ahead of Thursday’s debate in Miami. Though, with the rules agreed to for the debate, it is turning out to be more like a bipartisan press conference. Tonight in Miami, President Bush will be taking place in another debate in Miami.

Well, not exactly. Fifteen rappers from across the country will be competing in a mock debate against President Bush. The event is called SlamBush and is aimed at getting the Hip Hop generation to vote in the November election. Regional competitions were held in dozens of cities and on the internet. Tonight, the 15 winners will duke it out at a concert of the Grammy-Award winning hip hop group The Roots. In a moment, we are going to be joined on the line from Miami by Brooklyn rapper, Wordsworth-he is one of the organizers of SlamBush and will be a judge at tonight’s contest. But first, here is Wordsworth’s own lyrical debate with President Bush.

  • Wordsworth, hip hop artist from Brooklyn, New York. He is the co-creator of MTV’s Lyricist Lounge Show. He is one of the organizers of the Slam Bush competition which takes place tonight in Miami. Fifteen rappers will be mock debating President Bush.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: In a minute, we’ll be joined on the line from Miami by the Brooklyn rapper, Wordsworth. He’s one of the organizers of SlamBush and will be a judge in tonight’s concert. But first, here is Wordsworth’s own lyrical debate with President Bush.

GEORGE W. BUSH: My intentions are to earn your vote and earn your confidence. I’m asking for your vote. I want you to be on my team, and for those of you working, thanks from the bottom of my heart. For those of you making up your mind, I’d be honored to have your support.

MODERATOR: Mr. Wordsworth. You have one minute to respond for the hip-hop generation.

CANDIDATE WORDSWORTH: Yeah. You got no choice, that’s what you all been told to listen to. These criminals in the office want to control and limit you. All the political power is ours but these cowards’ goals and principles is to imprison you. Mr. President, you inherited the devilish ways of your dad, you the biggest terrorist there ever is. It’s evident you’re negative, and your father was bothered before, so you used the war as a score to settle it. World peace is said to be the planet’s plans, so you attack the Taliban in Afghanistan? Bin Laden you let escape and through the sand he ran. Now he’s taping death threats on a Handi-cam. Non-humane, Iraq, Saddam Hussein, didn’t find weapons still went and bombed with planes. Arms are aimed, children and moms are maimed, C4 killing soldiers when the car’s detained. And you still getting money from these corporations, and how you pay them back is with these altercations. Under no terms you have my vote earned, not while the sun burns, each day the globe turns. Problems evolving, partial involvement could solve it if you weren’t golfing so often. Believe me, y’all, it’s much worse than it looks, so let’s vote and stop beating around the Bush!

AMY GOODMAN: Wordsworth, here on Democracy Now! And he joins us on the phone from Miami where the SlamBush contest is taking place tonight. Welcome to Democracy Now!

WORDSWORTH: How you doing? Good morning.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you us with. Tell us about what you’re trying to accomplish with tonight’s contest?

WORDSWORTH: Well, the whole thing was put together, you know, so you could actually, you know, hear the hip-hop generation’s voice and see that — get people also to get involved with voting, and registered, you know, to oust Bush out of office because, you know, last time the way the election went down, a lot of people felt like, either, you know, their voice or their vote wasn’t heard, so, it felt like maybe if we had had a lot more people registered at the time, you know, they would — you know, there would have been a difference. So now, it’s like, you know, let’s get heard either by speaking your piece as a poet or as an artist or as a emcee or just some way artistic that might help.

AMY GOODMAN: And how are you getting young people involved? I mean, how is voter registration happening now?

WORDSWORTH: Well, when you see this slambush.net, if you go to slambush.net and you see the video, you can actually like — there’s links there to actually help people get involved with registering to vote. So, you can go online to slambush.net, and from there on, that’s the process. A lot of people got inspired from seeing the video and actually going, you know, to check out, you know, the registration online. So, that’s the way of getting people involved to vote.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you come up with this idea of the SlamBush contest, and how did you set it up with the competitions around the country?

WORDSWORTH: Well, actually, I was brought in by a friend named Biko from kontrabanda.com. He was telling me about another friend named Lewis at Free Range Graphics. And they were telling me about this idea they had. And they had emailed me the line that Bush had said and just told me to write something, you know, some lyrical things. So, what happened is I wrote it, flew out to San Fran and we shot it, and it came out. I think it came out way, way better than a lot of people might have thought it would have, because I didn’t think it would — I knew it would make some sort of a noise, but I don’t know if anybody thought it would make as much noise as it did.

AMY GOODMAN: Hmm. Finally on the issue of hip-hop generation being involved in voting, what do you say to those who say, "None of these candidates represent our interests?"

WORDSWORTH: I mean, a lot of things — the reason why I got involved with the whole thing was definitely, as far as — I don’t feel like I should be complaining and not trying to understand what’s going on or at least giving it a chance, the whole voting thing a chance. Because before I have never voted before. So I don’t think I have the right to be complaining just to complain and not do anything about it. So, I think that this time around, I think everybody should at least give it a chance and if you complain, at least you felt like you have done something, and you tried to accomplish something. You know, just in case your vote, you know, does make a difference. Because if it doesn’t — if things don’t change and you are still complaining, you are stuck in the same rut that you are started in the get-go.

AMY GOODMAN: Wordsworth, thanks for being with us. Again, the SlamBush contest is tonight in Miami. 15 rappers will be engaging in a mock debate with President Bush. Thanks for being with us.

WORDSWORTH: Thank you for having me.

AMY GOODMAN: Thanks for joining us.

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