The list of rappers who've aspired to political careers is pretty short: Uncle Luke (who ran for mayor of Miami-Dade County), Rhymefest (who ran for 20th Ward Alderman in his native Chicago), and Wyclef Jean (who briefly toyed with running for president of his home country of Haiti) come to mind. But the list of political aspirants-turned-MCs is even shorter: D.C. native Black Bobby could well be the only one.
The Northwest native, whose given name is Larry Harris, went to Georgetown Prep, then Tufts University, and, with four college friends, started the non-profit United Leaders, a fellowship program for young people interested in running for public office (Harris has called it the "City Year of politics"). Later, after finishing up grad school at Harvard, working in management consulting, and looking to start a political career, music called.
"My brother was doing hip-hop beats and trying to start a label, but he didn't have a lot of business experience — I did," Harris says. "He asked me to start the label with him, and along the way I started rapping, as a way to market it, because there were no MCs on the label at that time. I moved to Miami to help my brother three years ago, and since then I've been doing music on my own."
Now a full-time hip-hop artist based in Miami, Harris gives his first-ever D.C. show tonight at the Wonderland Ballroom, as part of the regular Cake and Kisses party. Even though music is his focus these days, Harris says hip-hop success isn't his end goal, but a means to extend his political reach. He hopes to be successful enough as an MC to one day run for office outside of the two-party system.
"I always wanted to run as an independent, but you had to have money to run as an independent," he says. "So, I'm hoping that, musically, I can establish myself as enough of a presence to become an independent politician one day."