Back when I was a youth we had a very specific term for people who did things or behaved in such a manner that today’s youth would describe as “cringe.” That word was cornball. If you’re unfamiliar with this term because you are a youth, allow me to use it in a sentence: Andrew Yang is a cornball. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a cornball—it’s just how some people are—but at some point in the life of a cornball, they really need to assess their decisions and wonder how they can curb their corniness. Yang, who is running for mayor of New York, has clearly not reached that place but instead dropped a rap song on his Twitter called “Yang for New York” performed by MC Jin, who some may know as the purveyor of the 2003 hit “Learn Chinese.”
I encourage you to watch and listen to this musical endeavor in full mainly because I had to watch it and I live to spread suffering. I am no expert at rap music but I do have one fully functioning ear and thus some thoughts on this track. The beat? Very nice, enjoyable and I can bop my head to it. Jin’s performance? Also good because he sells me on the idea that he too believes in Andrew Yang. The lyrics? Next question, please.
It’s not so much that I despise the repetitive “Yang for New York/Yang for New York/ we gon’ do the right thang for New York” hook as it is that I actively cannot hear it without doubling over in laughter. There is something hilarious about Andrew Yang being the absolute best that the New York political machine can muster when the man can barely conjure an image of the childcare gaps in one city nor can he properly identify a bodega. Two very important skills I want in the mayor of a city in which I no longer reside.
The Yang for mayor campaign isn’t much different than the Yang for president campaign other than the increased pandering. Yang may not know the difference between a bodega and a small supermarket but he does know that New Yorkers love one thing above all else: talking about how great New York is and that is exactly what this video is doing.
While the song is praising Andrew Yang and his plan for universal income, the video itself is simply an homage to the five boroughs (although not enough scenes filmed in the Bronx, if you ask me). The premise is also very New York. Who among us has not been accosted by a man on the street just trying to sell his mixtape even though, as Yang comments by the end of the video, hardly anyone has a CD player anymore?
This is all very cute and reminiscent of the weird dance battles the Buttigieg campaign was doing to “High Hopes,” but overall it’s hollow and the gimmick is starting to get tiring. Will the real Andrew Yang please stand up, please stand up, please stand up.