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Congress Learns to Love Hip-Hop

Maybe it’s hip to be square? Or maybe it’s hip to be hop? At any rate, lately Congress seems to have embraced popular culture generally and hip-hop specifically.

Or maybe it’s simply that 30-something members of Congress, cats who came of age in the 1990s, are just being true to their great musical past.

As in most things in the world of hip-hop, there are the true emcees and there are wannabes.

For example, there is Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., who used to be a battle emcee. His communications director, Blake Johnson, was once a music industry intern who embarrassed himself in front of Jay-Z.

There is Brett Morrow, the communications director for Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif. Morrow used to work at Universal Music Group and Def Jam before cutting out to join and own a piece of the Los Angeles-based hip-hop label RBC Records.

There is Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has proclaimed himself a big-time rap fan, going so far as to tell TMZ that Lil Wayne was no Tupac. Rubio is also on a first-name basis with Pitbull, last seen performing at last weekend’s Preakness InfieldFest in Baltimore.

During the presidential campaign, GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul D. Ryan waxed poetic about his love for Rage Against the Machine, showing his deep Gen X roots. Last week, Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., quoted Beyonce‘s “Single Ladies” in talking about small businesses, of all things.

The latest lawmaker to get on the pop culture train is Rep. Trey Radel of Florida, who can’t stop, won’t stop, talking about his love for old-school rap such as Public Enemy and NWA. Last week, Radel was interviewed on TMZ Live wherein the conservative Republican talked about his music tastes and said he was a big fan of TMZ. (Note: Flattery rarely works on TMZ. They still want to get pictures of you picking your nose.)

In Esquire magazine, Radel also name-checked Tupac and Biggie Smalls and shared several of his own hip-hop beats. In the article, Radel shared his remixes of “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Away From Here” and “Bring the Noise.”

So, readers, what do you think? Is Radel a true emcee or just a congressional fanboy? Let us know in the comments.

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