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Bill de Blasio on Ska: “I Love Ska”

Bill de Blasio Discusses Love of The Clash, Reggae, Ska on CNN

New York City mayor and apparent 2020 hopeful Bill de Blasio appeared on CNN Tuesday morning to boost his profile in an absurdly crowded field of candidates ahead of next year’s Democratic primaries. Aside from the usual platitudes about what he’s going to for the American people, de Blasio was subjected to a segment called “Candidate Mixtape” where the candidate in question discusses what music he or she enjoys. In de Blasio’s case, he says he loves the Clash (fair), reggae (weed), and… ska. (Weed?) Here’s how that conversation between de Blasio and CNN New Day co-host Alisyn Camerota began:

Alysin Camerota: “So what’s on your playlist? What’s your favorite band?”

Bill de Blasio: “My favorite band is the Clash.”

De Blasio delivered his answer with the kind of hushed gravitas usually reserved for state funerals or Nobel Prize acceptance speeches. Camerota and her co-host John Berman were notably impressed.

“I haven’t heard that before. That’s very cool,” Camerota said, which was very funny given that in the corner of the broadcast was a chyron counting down the hours to former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke’s town hall. O’Rourke famously referenced the Clash during his 2018 run to unseat Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. Perhaps only one candidate gets to claim the Clash in any given race?

Bill de Blasio Loves Ska

Camerota then started asking the tough questions, pressing de Blasio to name his favorite song, which prompted him to assume a dreamy look in his eye and wistfully say “so many, so many.” Drifting into specifics, he returned like a moth to flame: “The Clash, when I think about it, London Calling, that whole album. Beautiful album. There’s many good hits on that one.”

Pivoting away from London Calling, and perhaps the possibility of being asked to name actual songs from the album, de Blasio then discussed his love of reggae.

“I love Bob Marley,” de Blasio said. “I love Peter Tosh.”

Like any seasoned political reporter, Camerota threw de Blasio a curveball when she asked him if he liked ska because the genre is “a combo of your punk aesthetic and reggae”—absolutely the first time in history that anyone has accused de Blasio of possessing a “punk aesthetic.”

Further, not to be pedantic, the first wave of ska technically dates back to the ’60s presaging punk and reggae, though the second-wave revival of the late ’70s led by British 2 Tone bands does sound like what Camerota is describing. Anywho, it’s clear de Blasio has been underestimating Camerota this whole time because he’s genuinely surprised the New Day host knows as much, or probably more, about music than he does.

“I didn’t know you had all this to you,” de Blasio says, to which Camerota responds by gesturing to herself and saying, “there’s a whole hidden ska happening inside me.” De Blasio’s final remark on the matter: “I love ska.”

And so it was written.

You can watch the entire segment below. The music portion begins at around the 9-minute mark.