Hip-hop gaining bipartisan embrace from pols

Democratic Rep. André Carson of Indiana, a self-described former “battle rapper,” performed under the name Juggernaut into his early 20s. Though he gave up rap to pursue community activism and politics, Carson said that rapping helped him become a better communicator and public speaker.

Florida Republican Rep. Trey Radel describes himself as a “hip-hop conservative” in his Twitter biography. He tweeted his thoughts on Jay-Z’s newest album earlier this year and penned an essay for Buzzfeed about hip-hop.

Radel wrote that he found “a conservative message in [the Public Enemy protest anthem] ‘Fight the Power’ because I believe when government expands it becomes a political tool meant to oppress.” The first-term congressman acknowledged that he has philosophical disagreements with many of his favorite rappers. But that’s not a phenomenon limited to hip-hop, as attested by the unrequited crush Republican Gov. Chris Christie has on fellow Jersey guy — and decidedly liberal — rock star Bruce Springsteen.

Sen. Marco Rubio has also publicly discussed his appreciation for hip-hop in several interviews, telling GQ his favorite rap songs are “Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A., “Killuminati” by Tupac, and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.

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