There was a time not too long ago in which political candidates would not admit to past use of marijuana and would certainly not acknowledge having listened to rap music in their younger days.
Kamala Harris, the Senator from California who is running for president in 2020, did both in an interview this week, although the timeline of the music she enjoyed at the time has been questioned.
Harris appeared on The Breakfast Club radio show Monday and spoke at length about the subject of drug policy, per the New York Post. Harris was known for being tough on drug offenders when she was a prosecutor, although she is now in favor of marijuana legalization.
“We need more joy,” Harris said about her position on marijuana.
When asked if she had ever smoked marijuana herself, Harris replied “yes, and I did inhale,” in reference to then-candidate Bill Clinton’s much-mocked proclamation during the 1992 presidential campaign that he had used the drug as a college student but had not inhaled.
“It was a long time ago,” Harris said, laughingly adding that “I just broke news.”
But another part of the interview raised questions. The hosts asked her what music she was listening to at the time she was partaking in marijuana.
“Definitely Snoop, Tupac, for sure.”
However, as pointed out by Twitter user @JoshIeecs, Harris couldn’t have listened to either of those rappers in college for a good reason. Harris graduated from Howard University in 1986. Neither Snoop Dogg nor Tupac was yet an active artist until many years after that.
“Tupac’s first album came out in 1991,” the tweet said. “Snoop’s first album came out in 1993.”
It’s possible that Harris was misremembering which music she enjoyed in college, or perhaps that she used marijuana while listening to those rappers long after college, as Harris never categorically states in the interview that she never used marijuana later than her undergraduate days. There’s also a chance that Harris didn’t actually listen to rap back then and, when asked about it on a hip-hop-associated radio show, decided to just name the first two vintage rappers that came to mind.
Harris went on to state that she currently enjoys the music of Cardi B, especially the song “Be Careful.”
It’s certainly not the worst gaffe ever committed by a candidate, and once again, it would have been impossible to imagine as recently as 10 or 15 years ago for a presidential contender to be drawn into a controversy over which rap music they favored while getting high in college in the 1980s.