Three years ago, rap artist Malichi Male was driving to a gig in London, Ont. when he got lost.

Male took a wrong turn and ended up in St. Thomas, a quiet community about 27 kilometres south of his destination.

As Male describes it, it was one of the best mistakes he ever made.

“The amount of love and interaction and friendly atmosphere, it was so overwhelming that I was like, ‘Yo, this is the place, man. This is the place,’” he said.

Within weeks, he sold his house and moved to St. Thomas. Since then, he’s become the city’s biggest booster, often posting raps about the community’s charm and welcoming atmosphere online.

Male fell so hard for St. Thomas, he’s decided to run for mayor. He announced his candidacy last month on Instagram, and hopes to win over the city’s young voters.

His platform includes creating affordable housing, extending bus hours, opening up mental health and addictions centres and creating programs for youth.

Male launched his campaign, naturally, with a rap.

“The Jay Z of St. T, he thinks he is / Nah, I’m just a kid who loves this city / I’m just a kid who’s dressed like 50,” he raps in a video posted online.

The race is tight. Male will face off against former Conservative MP Joe Preston, current St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson and councillor Steve Wookey. It’s the first time since 1964 that four candidates have vied for mayor.

But the young upstart shouldn’t be discounted. Former St. Thomas mayor and MPP Steve Peters believes that, if Male energizes young voters, he could be a force to be reckoned with.

“If you can get new voters, that’s going to be the key to it in this election. Any of those candidates has to draw new people out to get behind them and support them,” said Peters told CTV London.

Male is confident that his message will attract a strong contingent of young voters.

“There needs to be another batch of youth coming up. I don’t think three of those candidates speak to that batch that needs to come up. I do,” he said.

The St. Thomas election will be held Oct. 22.

 

 

MALICHI MALE for MAYOR(read below for my platform) I HAVE DECIDED TO RUN FOR MAYOR OF ST. THOMAS ON/ OCT 22 it would be a BLESSING to receive your VOTE some say I don't deserve to run for Mayor because I was not born and raised in St. Thomas I SAY LONGEVITY IN A CITY DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUATE TO LOVE FOR THAT CITY/ I chose to move to St.Thomas/while some residents who were born and raised in St. Thomas choose to leave at the first opportunity they get and never come back /I could have moved to any city of my choice but my choice was St. Thomas because I believe in THIS AMAZING CITY AND I KNOW IT CAN BE ONE OF THE GREATEST CITY IN THE NATION/ it just needs to move in the right direction and that move has to happen FAST and NOW some say I should serve a few terms on city council before I think of running for Mayor I SAY THAT" WAS" A GOOD IDEA but THE WORLD HAS CHANGED AND RAPIDLY ADVANCING EVERY FEW SECONDS SO WHAT WAS THE NORM TEN to TWENTY YEARS AGO HAS TO BE REVAMPED AND ESCALATED TO CATCH UP WITH THE TIMES OR ELS WE RUN THE RISK OF GETTING LEFT BEHIND and in comparison with similar cities ST. THOAMS is playing catch up right now some say we don't know what he stands for and write me off before hearing what my platform is MY PLATFORMS are, CREATE AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING / EXTENDED BUS HOURS at least to midnight as well as to and from London Ontario and Port Stanley so residents can have transportation for night shift work as well as find work outside of the city without the feeling of being trapped in a city if you don't own a vehicle OPEN UP MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION REHAB CENTERS AND STOP THE EPIDEMIC OF DRUG USE THATS BECOMING A MAJOR ISSUE IN ST. THOMAS CREATE PROGRAMS FOR YOUTH designed to pull out their talents so they can see a future in St. Thomas as well as show them how to monetize those same talents so they are not stuck in dead end jobs that they hate for the rest of their live #music #genre #song #songs #melody #hiphop #rnb #pop #love #rap #dubstep #instagood #beat #beats #jam #myjam #party #partymusic #newsong #lovethissong #remix #favoritesong #malichi4mayor #stthomasproudtv #stthomasproud #repeat #malichimusic #goodmusic #malichimale

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With files from CTV London