After listening to hours of Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Levin on the radio while driving the Nebraska countryside, a peculiar thought occurred to David Segal: conservative talk-show hosts are surprisingly similar to gangsta rappers, he writes for the New York Times. Consider the parallels:
- Huge egos. Both groups praise themselves relentlessly—both Jay-Z and Rush Limbaugh have referred to themselves as “living legends.”
- Denouncing haters. Despite their enormous popularity, both rappers and talk-show firebrands commonly portray themselves as underdogs, beset by critics.
- Feuds. Just as 50 Cent and Ja Rule, or Jay-Z and Nas have their spats, so do Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh—O’Reilly has called Limbaugh a “right-wing liar.”
- Verbal skills. Talk-show hosts free-associate on topics for hours, using the same precision wordplay required for free-style rapping.
- Politics. Rappers and rightwing radio hosts are unabashed, die-hard capitalists, and both claim to represent a demographic which has been ignored. Recently, critics have questioned whether radio hosts' rhetoric might inspire violence—a charge rappers should find very familiar.