October 27 2010
Listen: How do you convince a young person who feels disconnected from the democratic process to vote? Regardless of the soundness of your logic or the validity of your argument, if the first task is convincing that young person to listen, your message will need to travel a long way to make much of an imprint. In response to this idea, there have been a number of efforts in recent years to relate to young people on their own terms, bringing the message to a medium with which young people are already familiar (most notably: Rock The Vote).
So how does one make voting appealing to youth in the context of a hip hop mixtape? This actually sounds hard to me -- I feel as if the topic of voting would more easily make a mixtape lame than a mixtape would make voting seem cool. Right? So the question becomes -- what kind of alchemy does it take to make something sterile become cool?
DJ Willie Shakes is that alchemist. A DJ based in Milwaukee whose reach goes far beyond the city, he's following his Numbers Don't Lie Mixtape promoting involvement in the 2010 Census with a mix for the November 2nd Election. Listen as he discusses a bit of the motivation and process that went into this project:
I love this project. Expressing ideas in a medium that's unconventional for the message is a definite challenge, especially from the creative perspective, and DJ Willie Shakes pours a whole lot of swagger into his solution.
You heard us talk about it (and a few brief excerpts), now download DJ Willie Shakes' Numbers Don't Lie: The November 2nd Edition. Also, if you have any where/why/hows about the logistics of voting in the November 2nd election, check out the Simplest Milwaukee Voting Guide.