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The hip-hop nation gets political 

The 2004 election just got a whole lot cooler. And no, it's not because MTV is "rockin' the vote." It's because a newly published manifesto/guidebook is hitting the shelves--one that's backed by an innovative collective of young activists who don't just talk a good political game, they also insist on playing to win.

The League of Pissed Off Voters, as they call themselves, is a unique hybrid; its multicultural membership includes musicians, writers, 'zine publishers, DJs and grass-roots political activists. (Long-time Raleigh author/activist William Upski Wimsatt, late of New York City, is a key League organizer.) Looking at their new book, How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office, it's hard to cite a precedent. True, elements of hip-hop culture have previously made forays into politics, but this may prove to be one of the most serious and sustained efforts to bring hip-hop's political power to bear in a national election.

The Bush administration should be scared, very scared. The book is a call to action that could bring a fired-up group of new voters into politics, and ousting the president come November is one of their professed purposes. They're not playin', either. The book's 20 contributors spell out practical and tested strategies for getting out the votes in 2004's likely swing states.

And they do it with an appealing mix of flair, facts and bravado. "We kick the asses of the political P.I.M.P.s and take away their pimp sticks," says a statement from the League.

Come on out for the risin' of hip-hop politics on Monday, April 5, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., when Bouapha Toommaly, a contributor to the book and veteran of the successful anti-eviction movement in Oakland, heads a political roundtable at the Nightlight in Chapel Hill, courtesy of Internationalist Books. Call the store at 942-1740 for more information. EndBlock

More by Jon Elliston

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