April 22, 2011

Ben Westhoff belongs to a dwindling breed. He’s a rap journalist, a real one, one who doesn’t relay on armchair assumptions or specious Wikitruths. He’ll pop up out the cereal and pester Luke Campbell to take him to a sub-Mason Dixon Mexican restaurant where the tequila is strong, the air thick and the girls thicker. He once showed up on my doorstep looking for a couch to crash on while he chased Fat Joe around Los Angeles. Admittedly, this is not a hard task. Cartagena moves slow and not even his constant chugging of Crystal Lite could give him the wherewithal to fend off Westhoff’s line of questioning.

The man has a darting contrarian mind and a compulsive need to get the story. His latest book, “Dirty South,” finds him on Beale St and in back alleys. Magnolia and the 5th Ward. All points in between. In a literary climate laden with bone-dry academic nonsense, he heads to strip clubs with Slim Thug to make it rain. It’s raw, loose-limbed and compulsively readable. Even when it feels like over corrective, it never feels overbearing. Like Boosie said, get up off the computer and buy that shit up off the shelf. Or there’s always Amazon.

In honor of the book’s release, Westhoff has taken a break from the freelance hustle (Village Voice, Creative Loafing,) to contribute an essay about why Miami should elect Luke Campbell for Mayor. As if it wasn’t self-explanatory. Text below the jump.

Luke for Mayor
By Ben Westhoff

Last week Luke Campbell officially filed to run for Miami mayor. What once seemed like a Trump-style publicity stunt now feels downright Jesse Ventura-like. As Luke has shown in his funny-but-kinda-true Miami New Times editorials, he’s got plenty of out-of-the-box ideas that make sense. (Although, taxing strippers? C’mon. That’s un-American.)

I personally think Luke would be a great mayor, and I even bring a bit of expertise to this assertion. While doing research from my new book, Dirty South, I got a chance to spend some serious QT with him last year. After intercepting/stalking him at the Atlanta airport (long story), I traveled with him down to Athens, Georgia. Along the way, he embedded me into his posse, bought me a hotel room, got me drunk, and brought me up on stage at his show. (Which was at the back of a Mexican restaurant. But I digress.)

Girls came up from the audience, Luke poured tequila down their throats, and they proceeded to take off their clothes and jiggle. The one who drew the loudest hooting from the audience walked away with $600. It was all very democratic. In fact, it has since become clear to me that Luke knows just about everything he needs to know in order to govern. To wit:

He understands the court system. From the 2 Live Crew’s free speech battle that went to the Supreme Court, to all the women who claimed to have had his children over the years, he understands the legal system. (In the case of the latter, he took many alleged baby mamas to the University of Miami DNA clinic.)

He’s a leader; people do what he tells them to do. When he commanded two women on that Athens stage to begin kissing each other, on the mouth goddammit, they did not hesitate.

He has a clear vision. As a DJ, Luke helped kick off southern hip hop by chanting lewd catcalls over records at parties in Miami parks. “[Girls] would be shaking their ass, and I’d just make up the songs,” he remembers. “I said, ‘Take it off! Take it off!’ Then the crowd said, ‘Take it off!’ Before you know it, they’re taking it off.”

He’s good at telling folks what they don’t want to hear. Even after getting married a few years back, he was able to convince his wife that he needed to continue his randy ways. “I’m like a gynecologist,” he explained. “If I don’t see pussy every day, something’s wrong.”

It’s clear, people. The next time you pull a lever – make sure it’s Luke’s.