POLITICS

No One At The New Yorker Understands How Pop Music Works, Apparently

Marco Rubio: big Drake fan.

Evan Osnos' new profile of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is titled "The Opportunist," which makes it sound like a rough ride is in store for the young Republican presidential aspirant. And as it happens, the piece paints Rubio at times as a little green, and at times, a little grasping.

All the same, Rubio's camp is going to be pretty happy for having participated in the piece. By the time its first eight paragraphs conclude, Rubio has been humanized as colorfully as any campaign manager could possibly desire. All in all, it's a pretty good read.

But we have got to talk about the Drake shoutout, you guys. What the hell is this?

Rubio’s inclusiveness can invite caricature. He considers himself a Catholic, but he attends two churches — an evangelical Protestant service on Saturdays and a Roman Catholic Mass on Sundays. He used to proclaim his love of nineties-era hip-hop — particularly Tupac Shakur — but recently he has also taken to praising cross-genre artists, such as Drake and the Weeknd, who blend electronic dance music with hip-hop, rap, and R. & B. “It’s a twenty-first-century ability to take music and use it in a way that motivates people,” he said last month on CNN, mirroring his campaign rhetoric. “Some of it is blended with other sounds that are sampled from recordings that others have had in the past, and you see traditional artists being brought in and their voices used on an electronic soundtrack.

Leaving aside Rubio's ecclesiastical chameleon act, how on earth is it a caricature to have loved '90s-era hip-hop at one point and to have praised Drake and The Weeknd at another? There are literally thousands of people who have made this same journey in terms of music taste. One big reason is that first, there were a bunch of people who made '90s-era hip-hop back in this time we call "the '90s," and then a decade later, Drake and The Weeknd released some albums and a lot of people said, "Hey, this is good music too."

Is there anyone at the New Yorker with experience listening to contemporary music? Because it would have been useful to have someone to say, "Hey, let's not make something very typical in music fandom sound like a character indictment."

Of course, I did kind of laugh at Rubio's quote, which makes him sound a little aggressively normcore about listening to today's music. In his defense, however, I'll point out that he was talking to CNN -- the cable news equivalent of running with scissors -- and you have to explain everything to them like that. That's just fact.

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Jason Linkins edits "Eat The Press" for The Huffington Post, and co-hosts the HuffPost politics podcast, "So, That Happened." Listen to the latest episode below:

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