I think it's pretty great that Marco Rubio took the opportunity to talk about hip-hop in his interview with GQ. He doesn't come off as a dilettante, either:
GQ: Your autobiography also has to be the first time a politician has cited a love of Afrika Bambaataa. Did you have a favorite Afrika Bambaataa song?
Marco Rubio: All the normal ones. People forget how dominant Public Enemy became in the mid 80s. No one talks about how transformative they were. And then that led to the 90s and the sort of East Coast v. West Coast stuff, which is kinda when I came of age. There's a great documentary on Tupac called Resurrection about the last few years of Tupac's life and how he transformed. And, ironically, how this East Coast rapper became this West Coast icon, back when all that Death Row/Sean Combs stuff was going on. Hip Hop's 30 years old now and it's crossed over and sort of become indistinguishable from pop music in general. You know, many people say Nicki Minaj is a rapper, but she's also a singer. Kanye's another guy who's also a rapper, but his songs aren't pure rap anymore. There's also all these collaborations going on, which confuses everything. You know you've got the guy from Miami, Pitbull, who's on TV selling a car and then he's advertising for Dr. Pepper.
GQ: Your three favorite rap songs?
Marco Rubio: "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A. "Killuminati" by Tupac. Eminem's "Lose Yourself."
I feel like we've come a long way in a short time. Gosh, it seems like only 18 months ago that if a political figure expressed a fondness for a conscious MC like Common, they earned a paryoxsm of unending outrage. Flash-forward to today, and I don't see Fox News' anchors convulsing in the sort of prudish outrage usually reserved for the villains in John Waters' movies. Over at the Daily Caller, they seem to approve of the fact that Rubio prefers the oeuvre of old-school gangsta rap icons to the "party rap" of Pitbull.
And that is as it should be, by the way. But when one compares the mild reaction that Rubio's fandom has thus far engendered to the wild hyena-rages that ensued when President Barack Obama invited Common to the White House, one is left to conclude that either tastes have radically shifted in the past year and a half, or those previous criticisms of Obama were just rooted in the need to produce opportunistic, mendacious horsecrap. Either way, like Jay-Z says, please tell Bill O'Reilly to fall back.
[The headline refers to this classic.]
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