Ben Carson’s new “urban” radio ad drops Friday in eight cities, including Miami, Atlanta, and Houston, with the goal of reaching out to young black voters who, the Carson campaign admits, are “a non-traditional voting market for Republicans.” Carson has already picked up one vote from that market, though, in Aspiring Mogul, the self-described “Christian Republican Rapper” who raps in the ad alongside snippets of Carson’s stump speech.
Aspiring Mogul was on the Carson bandwagon well before the kooky brain surgeon started topping national polls. In early 2015, he released a track called “The Black Republican,” featuring a clip (apparently from the audiobook version of Carson’s One Nation) of Carson talking about how easily offended people are these days.
Beyond the extensive Carson samples, the main political philosophy presented in “The Black Republican” is money over everything:
“I don’t need no reparation / I got a business, I create my own occupation / ain’t got no time to picket march ‘cause it don’t make no money,” raps Aspiring Mogul, before dropping references to Forbes and the stock market. His rap name is pretty literal, I guess.
Aside from getting money, the only other visible plank in Aspiring Mogul’s platform is his position on gay marriage: basically, “only God can judge.”
“One woman, one man, marriage, it just seem right,” Mogul raps on Black Republican. “I can’t legislate your life, do what you gotta do / but when you die I’m not the one you gotta answer to.”
Back in September, Carson’s campaign spotted this weird Christian Republican Rap track that sampled their candidate’s book and vaguely agreed with his positions, and they loved it.
Precisely two months later, Aspiring Mogul is rhyming for official Carson campaign materials. And it appears he’s also employed by the campaign.
In July, months after his first Carson-related song went online, Aspiring Mogul added “Engagement Manager — Ben Carson For President 2016” to his Facebook profile. (A search of Federal Election Commission filings didn’t show him on Carson’s payroll, but he could be employed by one of the consulting firms working on the campaign. The latest quarterly filing covers the period ending Sept. 30, so any direct payment for the radio spot also might not be listed yet.)
Neither Mogul nor the Carson campaign responded to a request for comment on how long they’ve known each other and how they came to work together.
It’s hard to tell if rapping is a sideline to Aspiring Mogul’s Republican political activities or vice-versa. According to his website, he’s a founding member of the Savannah (Ga.) Black Republican Council and a race relations expert for the Georgia GOP.
Although the site doesn’t list his real name, and his Facebook page also uses a pseudonym, it appears Aspiring Mogul is young Republican Rob Donaldson, who described himself to the Savannah Morning News in 2013 as a “rapper who reads the Wall Street Journal,” and bemoaned the Republican party’s lack of pop-cultural cachet:
“We have to learn to be cool,” he said. “The Democrats had Beyoncé’s music at their 2012 convention. We had Clint Eastwood.”
Assuming Donaldson is Aspiring Mogul—and how many other Vice-Chairs of the Savannah Area Young Republicans are black and “in the recording business?”—he seems to have taken the challenge of closing the GOP’s conspicuous coolness gap into his own hands.
Best of luck with that.
[Photo: Aspiring Mogul/Soundcloud]