Andrew Hemingway, a young Republican strategist who in January finished a close second in the New Hampshire GOP chairman’s race, said that while Rubio’s knowledge of hip-hop might not translate directly into votes, it reflects a broader appeal that has been lacking in the party.
“He has a side to him that is very relatable, and he’s not afraid to show it,” Hemingway said. “He’s not afraid to loosen up his tie a little bit and have some fun.”
Not everyone, however, is impressed with Rubio’s hip-hop knowledge, which some critics suspect is less extensive than the senator lets on.
In a ThinkProgress piece penned in February, commentator Alan Pyke ripped Rubio for portraying himself as a hip-hop expert despite having a limited grasp of works by recent artists, whose messages often fly in the face of the Republican Party’s platform.
“If you think ‘the only guy that speaks at any sort of depth’ is Eminem, you do not listen to enough hiphop,” Pyke wrote of Rubio. “If ‘Lose Yourself’ is your favorite Eminem song, you don’t listen to enough Eminem. And if you’re milking hiphop for credibility while marginalizing its challenges to the kinds of policies and narratives that Republicans run on, you might need to test your listening comprehension, period.”