French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy is getting flak because he’s enlisted a dreadlocked rapper to help with his election campaign.
The right-wing interior minister has been condemned by political rivals and the unions because Doc Gynéco’s lyrics are considered sexist, racist and advocate violence against police.
A stinging editorial in Liberation, a left-wing paper founded by philosopher, dramatist, novelist and critic Jean-Paul Sartre in 1973, said it was absurd to imagine that Sarkozy could repair his reputation on the housing estates simply because he has the backing of “a fading rapper.”
Deploring the way French politicians – like their English counterparts – are fond of boasting about the support of so-called trendy personalities, the paper said: “At the rate we are going, we will soon be able to do without politicians and vote directly for celebrities.”
Sarkozy hopes support from Gynéco, whose real name is Bruno Beausir, will help win over the young voters from the troubled immigrant housing estates, but it’s a move that could backfire.
Gynéco’s career peaked about five years ago. Since he’s apparently turned against street culture, other rappers and young fans of the music have come to regard him as something of a traitor.
From writing material that celebrated drugs, dead policemen and gang rape, he’s switched to saying the immigrant rioters are clowns who should break their dependence on welfare payments.
This is close to singing from the same hymn sheet as Sarkozy, who has some tough measures for dealing with violence and illegal immigration.
Although Gynéco has long since turned his back on sulphurous lyrics like “Je kiffe quand les keufs cannent” (I get a kick when cops croak), the left-wing politicians and media are still dragging them up and using them in a bid to discredit his alliance with the would-be president.
The socialists have mocked Sarkozy’s new-found admiration for rap, with Jean-Marc Ayrault, the party’s parliamentary leader, saying he’s astonished that the interior minister was supporting someone who advocated “extreme violence against the police.”
Philippe de Villiers, leader of the Roman Catholic nationalist Mouvement pour la France, said: “Doc Sarko and Doc Gynéco arm and arm are a mix of hype and dope.”
The rapper, whose lewd and violent lyrics first scandalized conservatives in the 1990s, was a guest star with Johnny Hallyday at the Marseille convention where Sarkozy kicked off his campaign for next spring’s elections.
– John Gammon