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

    Watch Rubio try to migrate to the center after that BS on the right wing. These losers are just now finding out that extremism doesn't work!

    November 20, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  2. true blue

    Ru-bio it's fine & dandy that you like and grow-up in the era of Rap & Hip Hop but, just remember your party don't care for the folks of that culture. the pubs look at them as the lost tribe. we know the game show them we care or act like were cool and hip that might persuade the vote. So words from the great one " DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE" 2016

    November 20, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  3. cashmeremafia

    I thought rap puts down women – so why is Rubio sayling he likes – oh, that's right never mind.

    November 20, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. Rob

    I hate how you democrats are afraid to succeed. Your afraid to achieve. You just want to sit back and be handed "gifts". Instead of being jealous of the wealthy, why dont you applaud those of us who were willing to sacrifice for many years. Those of us who didnt party in college but studied in libraries. Those investment bankers you so hate? well they worked 100+plus hours per week for years. They didn't see their family. They werent sitting at a bar on weekends having a good time. You guys need a reality check. We EARNED everything we have. And so can you...just work hard.

    November 20, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine


    I hate how you democrats are afraid to succeed. Your afraid to achieve. You just want to sit back and be handed "gifts". Instead of being jealous of the wealthy, why dont you applaud those of us who were willing to sacrifice for many years. Those of us who didnt party in college but studied in libraries. Those investment bankers you so hate? well they worked 100+plus hours per week for years. They didn't see their family. They werent sitting at a bar on weekends having a good time. You guys need a reality check. We EARNED everything we have. And so can you...just work hard.
    I do work, am very successful without working 100+ hours a week, and I am a Democrat. If you need to work 100+ hours a week to achieve some ephemeral definition of success, than you are doing something wrong. Successful people can balance their professional and family life without thumping their chests. My guess is you're not a success at all, but another rightie wannabe that still has to pay off his student loans and the money the Small Business Administration gave to you. You are in need of a reality check, not us, and we have the Electoral votes to prove our point. We don't write off half of the population and then ask them for their vote.

    November 20, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  6. Lloyd

    Rap is not music, it's noise.

    November 20, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  7. Jon

    The GOP could reform its image by electing the first Latino president in 2016, but somehow I think the morons of the party will ruin it for the rest of us.

    November 20, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  8. proudmemberofglobalzero

    I called my Senators office yesterday and told him to get his little butt back to DC and go to work. He is stealing my tax payer dollars while campaigning and posturing for 2016. Enough! Who else gets a 6 week paid vacation? That is not including the rest of the days off that congress took. The House sets the agenda. They chose to work just over half of the year. I say pay them half salary.

    Pissed Off in Florida!

    November 20, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. JT

    I guess this is suppose to help the Republicans win the black vote.:)

    November 20, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  10. maximusvad

    And the right still consider this guy a valid politician.... Men like Rubio will constitute the downfall or the GOP. Science flies you to the moon....Religion flies you into buildings.

    November 20, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  11. BlogARama

    If you work 100+ hours a week to be successful you need to understand that most people consider success to be a balance between work and family. 100+ hours of work is a reflection of some type of dis-function and I am guessing it is an unhealthy obsession with money. I work 40 hours a week, spend time with my spouse and friends, make great money, travel and believe in helping others. Life if great and I have 60 more hours a week to relax than you do.

    November 20, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. AmericanPeasant

    I don't think I can trust Rubio much, after embracing Mitt he seems too much like a panderer/puppet. However, I must say he has some pretty good taste in rap.

    November 20, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Larry L

    Gee... I thought he was just an ignorant coconut pandering to the right-wing to get votes. Now I see he's an ignorant coconut willing to pander to everybody!

    This will be popular pastime and a huge mistake. Minorities know the difference between pandering for votes and honestly embracing a culture and it's people. Republicans need to change what's in their hearts – not just the words that come out of their mouths.

    November 20, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  14. Evangenital

    Senator DeMintt??? That really says a lot of Rubio. Case closed!

    November 20, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. So.......

    Here's a novel idea: why not try treating people like people? This simple step would eliminate the need to pander to anyone in particular. Democrats have been the party of inclusion for a long time and even they don't have it down pat yet, but at least they're moving in the right direction. You can't change anyone's core beliefs; real change only comes from the inside out: real talk.....

    November 20, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. LegalizeReason

    How authenic. All of sudden a GOPer, after his party is rejected for being so far out of touch with reality, starts to talk about rap music. Do you think that maybe his handlers and focus group marketing dweebs maybe told him to start packaging himself to appeal to a new demographic? Marc, why don't you turn down the rap music and roll up uyour sleeves and earn some respect by doing something for the people in the Senate.

    November 20, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Muzak

    Already multiple stories running on Marco Rubio. It's pretty clear he's posturing, and the media is setting him up, for 2016. It's also clear to me that I will not be voting for this man.

    November 20, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. erivera63

    The Real Tom's idiotic thinking like yours that the GOP lost the election....There are many successful moneymaking , hardworking democrats...I have never taken or asked for the government for a dollar and have always worked and paid taxes....Keep stereotyping and you will lose again in 2016...

    November 20, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. IvotedearlyforObama

    Rubio, Ryan, Palin, Oh boy 2016 elections will shape up to be another laughapalooza! I don't care, though. I only like President Obama. I dont care who the Dems run, but will vote for them anyway.

    November 20, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. 4Him

    Gee the Republican Party loses the young,Hispanic and black vote and Marco Rubio, a teabag conservative comes out talking about Rap. Looks like the effort to rebuild the Republican base has begun. But where Is the Republican compassion for the homeless, the hungry, those truly needing food stamps? All those groups that Rubio tries to identify with are the ones who have no choice for work other than to fight the wars Republican's got us into. Rubio seem like a good man but will he stand for the very poor or the very rich?

    November 20, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. winky

    I'm black and that's not going to work! We are as smart as you so let go of the stereotype. Latinos are smart as well so stop trying to be something you're not! It's not about what you listen too it's about you're ideas sir which don't support the black community. You have to grow up in a situation to know about a situation.

    November 20, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. BigSir

    Talks rap and doesn't know the age of the Earth. I dislike him on so many levels. Will enjoy working against
    this opportunistic wimp who, so far, panders to the young vote and the fundamentals vote. A 42 year old fool!

    November 20, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. billy davis

    Does this fool even realized how he insulted 99% of African Americans. Vote for me because I listen to rap music. WOW, I'm black and can't stand rap music I can say the same for many of my contemporaries. Rubio, just completely showed how he and the GOP are clueless. Do they really think rap music is the source of black family values? GTFOHWTBS!!!

    November 20, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. Emerson


    If you think that you work harder just because you have more money, your time in the library did not translate into knowledge about. People who look at the world through stereotypes are usually haters at heart. Maybe you need to ask yourself just exactly all your hard work has "earned" for you.

    November 20, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. Mark

    Shameless plug to get young votes. As bad as Ryan saying "I don't know what Mitt has on his iPod, but I have some pretty wild stuff like Led Zepplin." That's the elevator music of today. Republicans are so out of touch.

    November 20, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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