A Hip-Hop Rhetorical Analysis Brought to You By The Nightly Show

So this isn’t the video I had in mind about Donald Trump‘s recent behavior on the political and media stages, but it serves as a nice little ice-breaker. And, hopefully, some brave, wonderful soul will soon rip the video I want so that I can use it for my own ends.

Until then, I’ll just have to make due with Mike Yard’s rhetorical breakdown of why Trump is the new black.

Yes, of course, Yard is being completely tongue and cheek here. But given his satirical overview of Trump and his behaviors, doesn’t it make you wonder exactly ~why~ Trump can get away with it and remain a popular (if not bemusing to those of us who haven’t lost our damn minds) candidate, where others (particularly minorities)  would be completely and utterly vilified for even a microcosm of the ridiculous stuff featured in the above video?

Hell, those minorities are already vilified for being absolutely nothing like what is referenced in the video.

Just what is it about America and our infatuation with train wrecks?

Anyway, back to Mike Yard and the video. Mike does a great job of breaking down Trump’s idiosyncrasies in such a way that liken him to a 1990’s Hip-Hop artist. Everything from Trump’s love of gold (his gaudy buildings) to his willingness to have “beef” in the public sphere (he gave out Lindsey Graham’s private phone number on television) make him ideal for black voters according to Yard.

The zing in the piece is a bit buried, though. Yard states that “…all he (Trump) has to do is get shot nine times and he’s golden!” I think this is the real punch of the segment because historically rappers and artists who have created chaos in their environments (even if its highly publicized) run the risk of being dealt with by other members of their communities or those communities they have seemingly crossed. And by being “dealt with,” I do mean gunned down, hence the “shot nine times” line from Yard.

Of course, Yard also tunes into the apparent racism that exists in the acceptance of Trump’s hip-hop ways. He states that white people love rap, but love it even more when it comes from white rappers–He likens Trump to Macklemore. By merely being white (or orange), Trump takes the edge off of his transgressions and makes them palatable for white audiences. However, likening Trump to Macklemore serves twofold: While explaining why white audiences find him appealing because of his outlandish behaviors, he is retracting his former statement that Trump is the black population’s Republican candidate of choice. This is because Macklemore is looked down upon by the black music community due to his appropriation of black American culture; and, in truth, he’s treated as something of a joke. Though to be fair to Macklemore, he has acknowledged his appropriation.

Of course the piece ends with Larry asking if Trump can beat Hillary, Yard translates this into “Can Macklemore beat Suge Knight?” Which in itself is an interesting parallel. To explain the joke, Suge Knight is record producer and music executive with a violent history and present. Meaning Clinton has the actual gusto to play the game, while Trump is mostly hot air. So the answer, according to Yard, is “no,” in case you were wondering.

But what do you think? Is Mike Yard’s break down of Trump accurate? Do you think framing Trump like a hip-hip artist in his behaviors and popular appeal opens any one demographic up to understanding the situation?

Let me know in the comments.


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