Platinum-Selling Artist Seeks Election In Newark
05/09/2022 10:23am 2 minute read
Dupré Kelly is seeking to be the first platinum-selling artist to be elected in the United States. Kelly’s group, Lords of the Underground, have well over 40 million downloads on Spotify but now the Newark-born artist is seeking votes for a Newark city council seat. Kelly ran unsuccessfully in 2018 but this time around he’s backed by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. Hip hop was political in its roots, the election of someone like Kelly may well indicate that those roots are now mature trees capable of bearing fruit for the community.
Kelly isn’t the first artist of note to run for political office. According to him, 2 Live Crew’s Luther Campbell ran for mayor of Miami in 2011, Killer Mike ran for the Georgia state legislature in 2015 and Scarface ran for Houston City Council in 2019. Name recognition earned from hip hop has yet to translate to the ballot box in the same way that celebrity has for others, most notably Donald Trump. Hip hop has undoubtedly shown itself to be a force of cultural impact but to date, it has not translated into electoral successes for artists. Perhaps that trend will change in Newark.
Rapping and governing are two different skill sets. To exercise the latter, however, requires getting enough votes to win the seat and Kelly hopes to do just that. Hip hop has come a very long way but in its highest form the artform is still very much political.