You probably wouldn’t expect to see Jay-Z and conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh at the same party, but the two might have more in common than you might think.
In an article titled “Call It Ludacris: The Kinship Between Talk Radio And Rap,” New York Times columnist David Segal connected the dots between conservative gabbers and gangsta rappers, citing similarities between the two worlds.
'Answer The Call' concert, Madison Square Garden, New York City
September 11, 2009
According to Segal, radio talkers and rappers share some common characteristics, which he identified as “Ego,” “Haters,” “Feuds” and “Verbal Skills.”
For example, on the topic of “Ego,” Segal quotes Jay-Z portraying himself as the “Mike Jordan of recording,” and “The Bruce Wayne of the game,” and compares the boasting to Limbaugh declaring himself the “Chief Waga-Waga El Rushbo of the El Conservo Tribe.” That is, when the talk show host isn’t describing himself as a “doctor of democracy” or “a weapon of mass instruction,” or having “talent on loan from God.”
Segal also points out that Jay-Z and Limbaugh have also referred to themselves as “a living legend.”
When it comes to “Haters,” Segal maintains that talk radio hosts and rappers are pretty much on the same page because you’re not a success in either field unless you have plenty of enemies wanting to see you fail. Like when Lil’ Wayne claims to have countless enemies or when conservative radio’s Michael Savage constantly describes himself as an underdog.
Evidently those famous feuds aren’t exclusive to rap artists. Conservative talk show hosts have also turned on one another. Ja Rule may have had his dust ups with 50 Cent, and Lil’ Kim may have aimed some nasty words at Foxy Brown, but Segal points out that talk show hosts have often spat a little venom at each other when not decrying the “liberal agenda.”
According to Segal, Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly was still hosting a radio program when he aimed a few barbs at an unidentified competitor many believed to be Limbaugh, but was only described as a cigar smoker and private jet owner.
Performing at the Sound Board Theater located inside the MotorCity Casino, Hotel in Detroit.
May 19, 2009
However, O’Reilly wasn’t the only one taking pot shots at other talkers. Radio host Mark Levin used to aim a few arrows at O’Reilly. During a 2008 rant, Levin said, “He has a fledgling radio show, that has no ratings, and he’ll soon be off radio soon because he’s a failure.”
O’Reilly eventually did leave his radio program, but his departure was more due to scheduling than ratings.
But regardless of content, both rappers and talk show hosts excel at verbal skills, according to Segal who describes Fox host Glenn Beck as “sharp and funny,” and Savage as delivering something akin to free-form rhyming.
“Mr. Savage’s riffs are a quirky, zig-zagging flow of ideas that at their best are kind of a talk show scat, jumping from a mini-lecture about the Khmer Rouge, to a rave about barbecue chicken, to a warning that he feels a bit manic, which means he’ll be depressed for tomorrow’s show.”
Segal goes on to say if Limbaugh “is conservative talk radio’s answer to Jay-Z, Mr. Savage is its Eminem – a man whose own neuroses are one of his favorite topics.”
What other similarities exist between rap and conservative talk radio? Both are proponents of gun rights, although the former doesn’t make a habit out of reciting the Second Amendment.
Actually, Segal makes a good case that gangsta rappers and conservative talk show hosts aren’t all that different. Both groups celebrate capitalism and success, although the rappers are a little more blatant about the bling than Limbaugh is about his jet.
But perhaps Segal’s best argument isn’t his own. For that he quotes DJ Clayvis, otherwise known as Clay Clark, who is a rapper AND a conservative talk radio host. Apparently, Clayvis noticed the similarities between the two worlds a long time ago.
Music Openair, Frauenfeld, Switzerland
July 11, 2009
“The differences between Ludacris and Rush Limbaugh are not that great. Both have huge egos, both bring a lot of bravado, both are sort of playing characters when they perform,” Clayvis said.
“And at the end of the day, they’re both entertainers.”
Click here to read the complete New York Times article.