Rubio breaks it down: Pitbull is no Eminem
November 19th, 2012
01:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Rubio breaks it down: Pitbull is no Eminem

(CNN) - Since winning his U.S. Senate seat in 2010, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has frequently weighed in on immigration, education and the economy.

But the 42-year-old freshman lawmaker apparently has a lot to say about another topic: Rap music.

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"The only guy that speaks at any sort of depth is, in my mind, Eminem. He's a guy that does music, that talks about the struggles of addiction and before that violence, with growing up in a broken family, not being a good enough father," Rubio said in an interview with GQ released Monday.

Saying he "came of age" during the East Coast v. West Coast rap debate of the '90s, a cross-country rivalry between various artists, Rubio considers himself a serious fan of hip hop, which he says has transformed into a new genre altogether.

"Hip Hop's 30 years old now and it's crossed over and sort of become indistinguishable from pop music in general," Rubio said. "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."

Rubio, who was vetted as a potential running mate for Mitt Romney, has stolen the spotlight in the days after the election by traveling to Iowa to headline a fundraiser for Gov. Terry Branstad. The move quickly stirred rumors of a potential 2016 bid, given Iowa's standing as the first-in-the-nation state to hold a presidential primary caucus. The senator has also been vocal on the need for immigration reform and a more inclusive Republican Party, echoing post-mortem refrains heard across the GOP.

And while Rubio is known for giving carefully-crafted statements, he gave a simple answer when asked about his three favorite rap songs: "'Straight Outta Compton' by N.W.A. (1988) 'Killuminati' by Tupac (1996). Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' (2002)."

He was also asked if he has one song in particular that "psyches" him up. Rubio, however, said his life doesn't have much room for a warm-up routine. "I don't have time for that. You know you can't put on earphones and then storm the floor and vote."

Also during the interview, Rubio was asked to name his best friend. Other than his wife, the senator pointed to South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, a tea party favorite who played an instrumental role in helping Rubio get elected two years ago.

"He's a great source of wisdom as a person who's had to make decisions that have made him unpopular in his own party," he said, also naming former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as a mentor.

Rubio may be a student of rap, but he's no scholar of science, he argued. Asked how old the Earth is, Rubio said such an answer was not his to give.

"I'm not a scientist. I don't think I'm qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all," he said, adding that he thinks parents should be able to teach both creationism and evolution.

"Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that," he said. "It's one of the great mysteries."

Rubio ignites debate with answer about creationism

The answer will no doubt fuel liberal blogs and many scientists who point firmly to the widely-held belief that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. But by appealing to both sides of the argument, his answer also gives him room to court more moderate voters–many of whom can be found in Iowa.

For now, though, Rubio seems to be more precise on his music tastes. Of the hip artists he doesn't favor, Rubio says Pitbull–who's known for "Back in Time" (2012) and "I Know You Want Me" (2009)–doesn't quite do the trick.

"(Pitbull's) songs are all party songs. There's no message for him, compared to like an Eminem," he said. "But look, there's always been a role for that in American music. There's always been a party person, but he's a young guy. You know, maybe as he gets older, he'll reflect in his music more as time goes on. I mean, he's not Tupac. He's not gonna be writing poetry."

Filed under: Florida • Marco Rubio
soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. hurricanehokie

    How the heck isn't the headline on CNN "Member of Senate Science Committee thinks it is for Theologians to debate the age of the Earth"????

    November 19, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    It's not exactly a giant leap to understand once you realize what that what Rubio is doing here with scince and religion applies to all sorts of things for these guys. You can literally make a list of all the measurable, objective things the GOP thwarts with religiosity:

    Science is to Christian religious beliefs


    Economics is to Trickle-down reaganomic religious beliefs


    Poll results is to Religious belief in all inconvenient data being the product of liberal bias

    and the list goes on. Religiosity is the name of their game beacuse if you can get peopel to believe in something in a religious manner, they'll never ever EVER let it go no mater how much contrary feedback provided by reality.

    November 19, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Pander Bear

    Not to be outpandered, Tea Party favorite Jim Demint has released a statement that he's totally "down" with his favorite hippity hopper, Snoop Dogg, stating "Yo yo yo, we be needin' a capital gains tax cut for reals, fo shizzle ma nizzle".

    November 19, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. ST

    Wow! It is getting funnier. Now Rubio is asking a "gift" of Rap music!

    November 19, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. lovespandas

    I have never seen more ignorance than in the democRATic party! Geez – you libs take it to new highs!

    November 19, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Marco, as a latino senator, maybe you should address things affecting the latin community such as illegal immigration. How baout you give us some insight on how we fight the Mexican drug cartels such as the Zetas, MS-13 or the Mexican Mafia. Can we get some insight on that Marco? I can care less about what's in your IPod. I didn't vote for the President because he listens to Jay-Z.

    November 19, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. bear79

    Sorry GOP, this won't help you win the youth vote. First- you need to marginalize the bigots of your party, then you need to admit that govt is always the problem, and finally stop your supply side economic nonsense.

    November 19, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. K

    This is the future of the GOP? Seriously? Despite his self-announced (delusional) hip hop street cred, he's spewing the same old ideas of a withering GOP. The GOP can't simply say "we've changed" and have all of their problems go away. They actually have to change ... and not just glad-hand people and convince them to vote republican. If they keep at this, they're going to lose all of the near-term presidential elections (2016, 2020, 2024). It's like Christmas morning for the democrats!

    November 19, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    But what will Tony Perkins, Grover Norquist, Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly and Rupert Murdoch think of this? Apocolypse?

    November 19, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. ghostriter

    OK, Tupac and NWA? Eminem?

    Wait till conservatives get the skinny on those groups. Rubio might be out of a party by next week.

    Now, if we only get him to rap a few lyrics....

    November 19, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Rubio should be able to say that science is what drives the policy, but he can't. He is afraid that if he does that, then all the religious right wingers will pull their support and cause him to lose his next election.

    November 19, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. sick of republican phonies

    Wow! He's hispanic, and likes rap music! I guess he's won over the minority AND the youth vote fer sher! LOL Too bad he is still a pandering republican fool, with his blatant disregard or ignorance of reality as proven by science.

    November 19, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "a psychopath? Really? You guys are leaving some dumb comments."

    I'll give you that one. What most GOP/Teatrolls exhibit is not what gets referred to as psychopathy, but rather more often gets confused with sociopathy, or as DSM-IV fondly refers to it "antisocial personality disorder." To wit:

    ""...a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood......""

    A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:
    1.failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest [e.g., holding someone down and cutting their hair...or attempting to disenfranchise thousands of minority voters];
    2.deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure [e.g., WMDs in Iraq or "tax cuts for the rich grow the economy and increase federal revenue"];
    3.impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead [e.g. "Let's go to war and not raise taxes to pay for it and then keep it off the books"];
    4.irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults [cowboy diplomacy anyone?];
    5.reckless disregard for safety of self or others [e.g., lying about WMDs in Iraq and then spending 5,000 of your children's lives on it] ;
    6.consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations [e.g., eviscerating the federal government's revenue stream so it cannot meet known expenses and then callnig it a "spending problem"];
    7.lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another [e.g. arguing that we should cut even more taxes for the wealthy despite what that did to us the first time];
    B) The individual is at least age 18 years.
    C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years.
    D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

    November 19, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Pander Bear

    A new word for the lexicon: "Gerrypander" v. – the practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating the boundaries of reality to create an illusion of empathy and understanding towards a particular culture or population that had been previously shunned, exploited or demonized.

    November 19, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Listening

    Hey guys relax. Obama said we had 57 states and got a pass. Just chill. Stop the hate. For the person that said the GOP should have never been created- well if that were the case, we'd still have slavery. Every republican in house and senate and of course Lincoln fought like heck to abolish slavery while the dem party fought just as hard to keep slavery. Times have changed, sure, but know your history before you speak.

    November 19, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    -Larry L

    @Ray E. (Georgia)

    Believe it or not, the Conservatives and Republician's believe you have enough canones to take care of yourself. The Liberal's and Democrats think you are too ignorant to take care of yourself So, they are now asking the igoranimouses to advise them? Well good luck on that. It is well known that Igorance Abounds thruout the land. If Obama has his was you will soon bite the hand that feeds you.
    You'd be wise not to misspell "igoranimouses" and "Igorance". It would also be great if you'd start the new term as a patriotic American rather than a mindless Fox News drone. Americans need to pull together rather than choosing political "teams" to support. All politicians need pressure from an honest and well-meaning electorate rather than cheap shots (like my stupid spelling comment) from brainwashed extremists. The last election showed you the future for right-wing radicals. We need pragmatic citizens sincerely working for a better America – for all of our people.
    Larry L, you are wasting your time trying to convince a self-described red state knuckle-dragger whose state depends on Federal dollars that he should try to work for a common cause, namely the nation's. The Conservatives have imbibed Ayn Rand for the last 3 decades, which means they will do whatever they want and to hell with the rest of the nation. They will always look for someone to blame who is not like them, and will ignore any amount of proof you offer them. They are like addicts, who need to hit rock bottom before they realize the narcotic called conservatism is not the way to Nirvana, and has destroyed them. Once they are reformed, and stay clean and sober without inhaling the Oxycontin known as Rush and FOX, they will start to come round. In the meantime, be prepared for some nasty withdrawl symptoms.

    November 19, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. ghostriter

    John McCain has announced that his favorite rapper is Snoop Dogg, but that he is always getting hated on by Charlie Brown.

    Lindsay Graham thought Eminem was the candy guys putting together a rap group.

    November 19, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. Big_D

    Blocking the story about Anonymous claiming Rove tried to steal Ohio now?

    November 19, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Jack

    Creationism is not science. It's religion. Sure, you want to teach your children that the earth is 5,000 years old. Fine. But don't confuse that with science. Don't teach religious doctrine in public school. I went to Catholic schools and we were taught the earth is billions of years old. I got a better science education in Parochial School than these wingers are getting in "supposedly" public schools where fundamentalis Christians are designing the science syllabus. Whacko is as wacko does.

    November 19, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Jack in Florida

    WHO CARES. He only has the "power" because the media is giving the attention that he wants. I would put him in the same catagory as Sarah Palin. A true wanabee.......he is no more qualified to be President than Mickey Mouse.

    November 19, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Larry L

    When your voting base considers a rudimentary understanding of science a negative attribute you have a problem... If you claim to accept the premise of a 6000 year-old Earth, you are either dishonest or ignorant. Rubio is both.

    November 19, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Wake up People!

    Alright ghostriter, you are about to have a full blown mutiny on your hands talking about Pac and NWA. LOL. Good one though.

    I can't wait to watch Hannity tonight!

    November 19, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. ghostriter

    Matter of fact, republicans should be ousted from any committee involving science. That's like Christie running a marathon.

    November 19, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Laverne

    Obviously, when it comes to the world of rap he has not done his homework or does not really listen to rap. There are many rap artist who rap out of their life experiences, addictions and pain. As a matter of fact many way before Eminem came on the scene, but maybe he is more comfortable listening to Eminem.

    November 19, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Republicans need to listen to what Bobby Jindal said yesterday, "We don't need better PR people." Between Jindal and Michael Steele, those two guys are the only conservatives who seem to be cognizant of the hamster cage that the right wing has boxed the Republican party inside of. Rubio, he's still running that hamster wheel.

    November 19, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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