Rubio breaks it down: Pitbull is no Eminem
November 19th, 2012
01:50 PM ET
2 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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"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. Former Republican, now an Independent

    I guess it is good that Rubio is knowledgeable about something, because his political views have fallen in with the neo-cons who are experts only in the views of the wealthy. Rap, Romney and Ryan.......strange bedfellows!

    November 19, 2012 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Larry L

    Republicans need to get these clowns out of public view. You tried it – and you lost. America wants serious leaders. Rubio is a coconut who filled a niche for a right-wing Hispanic. That won't work in the future because Latinos aren't stupid and recognize a propped-up lap-dog for the rich, white establishment. You can't fake a real interest in Latino issues.

    November 19, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. Lenny Pincus

    Can't wait for Jim DeMint to dig on the lyrics of NWA. Just more hypocrisy from the Party of Hypocrites.

    November 19, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  4. mike proctor

    Oh well, the republicans picks another Romney if they goes with Rubio for 2016.

    November 19, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  5. False Left Right Paradigm

    Looks like Rubio is really being pushed as a serious contender by the so called know it all's in the media. They wouldn't be talking his love of rap music if they weren't. Young people are suppose to like the "cool" rap and hip hop. Glad to see some of you people are seeing through this scam. Maybe he really does like rap but why is it a news story???

    I personally despise rap and hip hop. I did like a few songs in those genres when I was 12, but now I don't even like to hear that kind of music. My favorite, hard rock, has also went down. It's tough for me to listen to the newer stuff as well. Infact, all music seems "watered down" and shallow.

    My prediction is that the media convinces repubs that if they want to win another election they will have to accept all of the illegals from central and south america, so they will vote for Rubio.

    November 19, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Rubio acts like a teenager you need to read his tweets to have a real understanding of how out of touch he really is.

    November 19, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  7. courtney lopez

    This dude is so full of it, I'm surprised he doesn't have a colostomy bag. If he really grew up on hip hop he could point to more than Eminem who came out in 1999. Not early to mid nineties. Hip Hop officially began in 75 making it 37 and he's what 42, yet he could only reference hip hop from the last 13 years. FOH! I am hip hop. This dude would be laughed out of any discussion about hip hop. Pit Bull should smack flames out of you. He's realer than your, white american pandering disguised as being in touch with the youth. Dalé!

    November 19, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  8. Thomas

    A group of 97 House Republicans sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday, saying that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice misled the nation about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, making her unfit to be a candidate to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
    The letter, organized by South Carolina freshman Jeff Duncan, said Rice's "misleading statements" about the attack that led to the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans "caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world.

    A group of 97 MORONS !
    WMDs/WMDs/WMDs

    November 19, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  9. josh

    He got my vote!!!! Cali For Life!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 20, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  10. Getoverit

    Another diversion. Way to go, CNN!

    November 20, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  11. Githm

    I like rap. So...will you vote for me now?

    November 20, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  12. Angela

    Wow. We are not falling for it GOP. Sad.

    November 20, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  13. Jonathan

    I find it funny how dems think Obama listening to hip hop and being 'friends' with jay-z is really cool, yet this guy talks about the music scene and he's called a bum by those same people.

    November 20, 2012 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  14. Cam Spurgeon

    If you follow voting at all he does exactly what McCain and or Jim Demint tell him to do. He is my Sen and never responds except with a very late form ltr. We cant believe he is considered a rising star. He wouldn't have won if the Very low Dem Vote hadn't hurt the Independent Crist. Oh well cant show him how we feel until 2016...but we can show the gop in 2014.

    November 20, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  15. Bill Witherton

    Thats not going to work. Reaching out to minorities is more complex than music. Try again. lol

    November 20, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  16. Paul Price

    Rubio is presidential as trichinosis is to pork.

    November 20, 2012 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  17. kimbo

    Lightbulb moment: Let's say we like rap music, that will get blacks 2 vote for us...word to the wise to the repub who came up with this brilliant idea, don't talk about rap like u read about it in a book (hip hop has been around 30 years?!) Who knows that off the top there head?

    November 20, 2012 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  18. Misha

    Talking about being desperate! This is the GOP's 'secret weapon' to win the Latino support?

    November 20, 2012 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  19. daniel

    It's laughable in the GOP part to under mine us and to let us believe that Rubio is a common and ordinary person like me who relates to Us, when all of us know that he is a distraction to happen soon and Anti immigrant clown. I like good health car like he has too... I have a surprise for you, if u r thinking about 2016,it is taken by Hillary Clinton lol

    November 20, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  20. Mecoute Benjamin

    Sure right...he happens to love Hip Hop and this happened when?? Oh yes, after the Republican lost face with the General Public. Get real or get lost.

    November 20, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  21. comegetsome

    Ok I know what this is.... This is the media asking the hard questions now... u know the one Obama never was asked...... they are vetting him now so they can use his words against him in 4 yrs. Look at the line of questioning. Itt is obvious.

    November 20, 2012 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  22. HipHopHead

    If all you do is listen to the radio then yeah there is no real rap left. But the tru fans kno that real hip hop music still exists underground. Most of the original vibe of hip hop is dying but there are a few artists keeping intellectual, poignant, heart felt , relevant rap music going. Yasin Bey (Mos Def), Talib Qweli, The Roots, Wu Tang, and even some new guys, Kendrick Lamar, Currency, Lupe, etc.....its not completely dead but you have to look to find it !! Its obvious Rubio is a fan of commercial rap.....there is a huge difference !!

    November 20, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  23. Tony in Maine

    republican attempts to package a possible star are so transparent as to be laughable. I'm sure they'll trot out someone cooking blintzes and talking faux yiddish next.

    Underneath the wrapper, there will be the same old, same old – a wealthy white male who wants more money and privilege for "his kind of people."

    November 20, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  24. Gurgyl

    This dude is a crazy idiot–he has no brain. It is a varecious truth.

    November 20, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  25. Kevin

    And out of all rap groups he likes one of the most controversy names in a rap group NWA. The republicans just dont get it.

    November 20, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8