Give Michael Nutter credit for having a great memory: It's been decades since his "Mixmaster Mike" DJ-ing days and he still remembers all 2,984 words to the 1979 Sugarhill Gang classic, "Rapper's Delight."
But surely, after all this time, you'd think Nutter might learn another rhyme.
If only. At his second inauguration, with no less a jam band than The Roots (!) backing him up, Nutter once again returned to his safe signature song.
(And to think, there was a time when Nutter demurred at requests to perform on command. In a 2007 column as he surged ahead in the mayoral primary, I egged the candidate on as we walked down 15th Street in Center City. This you've got to put in a commercial, I wrote as Nutter let loose. There goes your charisma problem, I say. (Nutter rolls his eyes.) "There goes the election," he says, his humor as parched as ever.)
Look, Nutter is markedly cooler than elected officials who can't rap. But after hearing hizzoner rock the mike identically on multiple occasions -- just Google "Nutter Rapper's Delight" -- I can't be the only listener wishing he'd spit out a new tune.
Philebrity has weighed in on the theme song crisis. So has the City Paper's Isaiah Thompson, blogging about the mayor's musical monotony and sking Nutter to consider expanding his repertoire.
I understand why you may feel the need to re-perform this undeniably appealing piece, Thompson wrote. It's energetic, jovial , positive but not preachy. It contains no swearing, no violent imagery, no controversy... In a time when the unenlightened seek to blame such complex urban problems as flash mobs on a genre of music, you, a mayor whose very candidacy depended upon an even-keeled sensibility that trumped racial politics, must play it safe. Fine.
I'm not asking for The Chronic here, Mr. Mayor. Maybe some Kurtis Blow ("The Breaks"?). Or Young MC ("Bust A Move"?). A little Run-D. M. C. ("Christmas in HoIMs") for the holidays? We know you've got more to offer.
Thompson's list is a great start. Anything to add? Got a song you'd like to hear Nutter sing or shout out?
Officially, Nutter claims to have retired from rapping, according to a recent tweet. But I'm not buying it.
-- Monica Yant Kinney
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