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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: President Obama still has yet to nominate anyone to head the new post of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Several names have floated around Washington for weeks now — including a few high-ranking members of the administration. But Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren is credited with coming up with the idea of such an agency. And now a progressive group called the Main Street Brigade — funded by movie composer Hans Zimmer — has come up with a rap song and a video to advocate for Warren’s nomination.
Ryan Anthony Lumas is the rapper. And he’s with us now to talk about it. Welcome to Marketplace.
RYAN ANTHONY LUMAS: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
CHIOTAKIS: Why’d you do this?
LUMAS: Well, you know, they had the opportunity to get big-name rappers and/or comedians, but they wanted somebody who was a working-class person. Like, you know, I work at Best Buy.
CHIOTAKIS: You’re the target audience?
LUMAS: I am the target audience.
CHIOTAKIS: Did you know who Elizabeth Warren was before you did this?
LUMAS: Actually, no I didn’t.
CHIOTAKIS: You didn’t?
LUMAS: No, I didn’t know. And kinda, wow that I know who she is I’m like totally following her. It’s something I think everybody should know about.
CHIOTAKIS: Why do you think she’s got this cult status, Elizabeth Warren?
LUMAS: The cult status is the working people, you know, the everyday guy. The guy working 9-5 or 6-3.
CHIOTAKIS: Has Elizabeth Warren seen this?
LUMAS: I’m not sure. I know it was sent to her office. If she’s seen it or not, I’m not sure. I hope she has.
CHIOTAKIS: What kind of words were you looking for in this thing?
LUMAS: I was looking for words that one, would sound cool in a rap.
CHIOTAKIS: What kind of words sound cool in a rap?
LUMAS: Like “yo.” You know? Words like “yo.” But I like to dabble in poetry. I just made sure I talked about the banks and the people and finances.
CHIOTAKIS: It’s got a country twang, too.
LUMAS: It does have a country twang because of Time Magazine, where it said new sheriff in town.
CHIOTAKIS: And there’s something about Oklahoma in there, too.
LUMAS: Yeah, that was a little tribute to her being from Oklahoma. In rap, in general, people are always representing where they’re from. So I was like, oh, let’s represent where she’s from — Oklahoma.
CHIOTAKIS: Let’s hear a little bit of it. Do you know it by heart?
LUMAS: It’s hard to do without my cowboy hat.
“Sheriff one’s what we need, yo.
Let me plead, yo.
She’s not about the money,
And the green note.
She’s about working class families
And bringing ’em out of financial crisis and tragedies.”
CHIOTAKIS: Ryan Anthony Lumas, comedian-rapper, now involved in Wall Street reform as well.
LUMAS: “Rapper.” Yes.
CHIOTAKIS: Thanks for being with us.
LUMAS: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
CHIOTAKIS: By the way, we reached out to Professor Warren, and a source close to her says she has seen the video and was touched by it.
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