The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Utah’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives made a rap video. Send help.

Utah has never been known as a launchpad for hip-hop music, and if a mock rap video released by a group of state lawmakers is any indication, there’s a good reason for that.

The state’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives released a video ostensibly meant to educate citizens about how a bill becomes a law, set to the beat of Will Smith’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme.

We probably don’t need to tell you how terrible it was, and we certainly won’t waste precious words repeating the dismal rhymes offered up by some 20 lawmakers. Even in an era of awful amateur rap videos made by people appropriating the style for their own agendas, it stood out for how awkward and ill-fitting the lawmakers looked doing a cheap sendup of what they thought rap music was about.

“Irredeemable,” wrote the Seattle PI.

“It’s so bad that you might be better off not watching it,” the AV Club chimed in.

“This attempt at their hip-hop supremacy is the legislative equivalent of failing to make it out of committee,” the Salt Lake Tribune deadpanned.

Perhaps there are deeper lessons to be gleaned from the parody offered up by the state body.

For one, it is yet another sign of how far rap has traveled — and, in some hands, had its edges sanded off — if an overwhelmingly Republican (62 out of the 75 seats are held by the GOP) and white group of lawmakers, including one wearing a signed Make America Great Again hat, thought it was the most appropriate vessel to carry their message about governing. The song they chose to rip for the video is from a television show that hasn’t aired in 20 years. And the half-backwards hat worn by one, and the overwrought hand gestures employed by others hint at some deeper misunderstandings.

But this is a world in which clunky rap pantomimes made by 20-something YouTube stars — you know, the type of throwaway videos some of your friends might have filmed with a camcorder in middle school — can get hundreds of millions of views. So perhaps you can’t blame the legislators for trying.

At least one political group seized on the video to attack.

“If you live in Utah and realize that the least problematic part of this ‘rap video’ is every Utah state legislator’s lack of flow, please #runforsomething,” wrote the group Run for Something, which formed after Trump’s election with a mission to recruit new Democratic candidates around the country. “We will help you.”

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