Fyre Festival mastermind and convicted felon Billy McFarland is reportedly working to connect former president and convicted felon Donal Trump with famous rappers in an effort to attract Black voters. A thorough new report from Rolling Stone cites sources within the Republican presidential campaign who say that McFarland has linked Trump with hip-hop artists on at least two occasions.

McFarland and Trump’s connection first became public last month when Billy posted a photo with the former president on Instagram with the caption, “Pres’ birthday featuring your new cabinet.” Speaking of the former president’s cabinet, it was Trump’s Justice Department that convicted McFarland in 2018 for his role in the Fyre Festival disaster, which left dozens of attendees vying for resources in an influencer reboot of Lord of the Flies. McFarland was sentenced to six years in federal prison on two counts of wire fraud stemming from the fake documents he used to deceive investors into investing $27 million into Fyre Media Inc. McFarland’s Fyre Festival co-founder, rapper Ja Rule, was cleared of any legal wrongdoing in 2019.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Billy McFarland (@pyrtbilly)

Even though McFarland has never successfully produced a festival, he is reportedly serving as a liaison between presidential hopeful Donald Trump and rappers, with some success. Though campaign staff are adamant that McFarland has no formal position in the presidential bid, two sources did confirm that McFarland played a role in getting Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow to appear and perform at Trump’s recent rally in the Bronx, NY. At the campaign event back in May—held a week before Trump was found guilty on 34 counts of fraud connected to his hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels—Sheff G told the crowd, “One thing I wanna say…they always gonna whisper your accomplishments, and shout your failures. … Trump gonna shout the wins for all of us.“

Sources also told Rolling Stone that McFarland helped arrange a June 15th meeting between Trump and Detroit rappers Icewear Vezzo and Peezy. McFarland allegedly connected the rappers with a Trump campaign worker at the local Wayne State University. Though it was not nearly as publicized as the Bronx rally, Vezzo reportedly met with Trump in the back of Detroit’s 180 Church for an “undisclosed time” where the rapper got to speak to the former president privately about issues concerning him and his community. Vezzo previously told Rolling Stone in February that he would vote for Trump over president Joe Biden (though he prefers independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., whom he’s also met). Following his recent meeting with Trump, Vezzo caught backlash online and responded in a video saying that generations of Black people “voted blindly” for Democrats and that he has instead “decided to ask questions” of Trump and Kennedy.

Related: This F—ing Guy: Billy McFarland Puts Fyre Fest II Tickets On Sale [Video]

McFarland’s contributions are part of a years-long effort by the Trump campaign(s) to connect the politician with rappers in hopes of swaying Black voters, who historically vote Democrat (a recent Pew Research poll shows Black voters favoring Biden to Trump 77% to 18%). Undoubtedly his most vocal supporter in the hip-hop world is Kanye West, who met with the president a month after the 2016 election and continued his support throughout Trump’s term before mounting a widely questioned presidential campaign of his own in 2020. Trump also pardoned Lil Wayne and Kodak Black from federal charges in the lead-up to the 2020 election and has garnered support from 50 Cent, Benny the Butcher, and Waka Flocka Flame (who also “ran for president” in 2016). After endorsing Hilary Clinton and telling Trump to go [expletive] himself ahead of the 2016 election, Snoop Dogg said in February that he has “nothing but love and respect for Donald Trump.”

Doling out pardons for Weezy and Kodack Black and appearing with Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow—who are out on bail for charges including conspiracy to commit murder—is in line with Trump’s recent claims that he is “being indicted for the Black population.” Ahead of his trial earlier this year in New York, the former president claimed “the Black people” like him because the justice system has allegedly discriminated against him. In that same speech at the Black Conservative Federation Honors Gala in Columbia, SC, Trump drew comparisons between his legal issues and the Civil Rights movement, saying, “We share the dream of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He was great. What a speech.” Days after that speech, 50 Cent told reporters that he sees Black men “identifying with” Trump because “they got RICO charges.”