So The President Doesn’t Like Black People Because He Has Lil Wayne On His iPod?

Rolling Stone recently published an interview with President Barack Obama in which he spoke about what music he's currently listening to and it elicited a Wall Street Journal opinion piece from Thomas Chatterton Williams where he chastises the president's endorsement of hip hop as an act against Black America. Of course. Honing in on the music of Lil Wayne and the life story of Jay-Z, he criticizes Obama for promoting violence, among other things, as attempting to appear "relatable and cool to a generation of Americans under the sway of hip-hop culture."

I'm not going to argue against William's points regarding hip hop or coolness. He is entitled to his opinion, and he's right in assuming that someone like me thinks hip hop makes you cool because that's the only reason I listen to it, obviously. Plus, Lil Wayne is in prison and Jay-Z wears his drug hustling past like a badge of honor. I am, however, going to question the laziness he exhibits by leaving out other non hip hop examples from his argument. After the bounce, of course.


For example, Miles Davis was a notorious misogynist. In addition to being a musical virtuoso who pushed modern jazz to its limits he was also a heroin addict and a pimp. Why not parade those facts out to support the argument as well? It seems as though actively engaging in sex trade ranks up pretty high up on a scale of injustices against The Community, no? Lil Wayne's lyrics "look, ma, I'm trying to make a porno starring us well not just us, a couple foreign sluts" can be considered from a whole different perspective when considered in relation Bitches Brew. Get it? Bitches.

And don't even get me started on the President Obama's comment that he has "a lot of R&B." A lot of R&B? If there is one genre of music that has contributed most to the 70% of black children being born out of wedlock (according to Williams), it has to be R&B. This is the genre that beloved crooner and Roots Crew collaborator John Legend believes has lost its political edge and has been "relegated to the bedroom" since the 1960s and 1970s. And as someone who just released an album of covers of socially-minded soul music from the 1960s and 1970s he is an authoritative voice on the matter. Also: R. Kelly.
Additionally, Williams conveniently leaves out how President Obama says he likes classical music. You know who else liked classical music? Ronald Reagan. (Pssst...he was President during the Golden Age of Hip Hop. Oh, the connections!) Reagan even listed a song by Igor Stravinsky as one of his favorites. And you know what Stravinsky was? A philandering-ass cheater. Hollywood even made a film about it, so you know it's true

In an article about George W. Bush's iPod, a friend and colleague said that "no one should psychoanalyze the song selection. It's music to get over the next hill." And while no one is psychoanalyzing Obama's playlist here, perhaps Obama's shouldn't be viewed as an opportunity to espouse the same arguments against hip hop that are always made about hip hop or to make him seem like he is a proponent of systemic problems that affect black communities because he has some Jay-Z MP3s. Maybe, just maybe, these songs are just "music to get over the next hill."

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9 Responses

  1. The man can't do NATHING *Ricky Smiley voice* without someone psychoanalyzing it. I'm so over it. If anything his playlist shows he is able to balance different perspectives and backgrounds... which is a helpful skill to have as President. O_o

  2. I'm going to take this post out to a nice steak dinner, then on over to Red Lobster for as many of those delightful cheesy biscuits as it wants to eat. Because it deserves it. As do you, Ro. Great commentary.

  3. With all the other things in the world going on, you would think there would be more to talk about that what the president has on his Ipod. I Don't even pay attention to these idiots. They have starving children, companies hiring people part time so they won't have to give benefits, or the 2 sisters in a Mississippi jail for 17 yrs over eleven dollars and the guys who were with them were free yrs ago. Whats up with all that? why we pay Thousands in taxes and still no health care because the Republicans don't want to pay. who gives a dam what the man is listening to, he need some 2Pac to bring the pain or some Paris to tell the truth about a lot of things, What will they say then?

  4. Wow....great article.
    I was so happy that President Obama was elected into office but I can't stand all the angry biased media he has to face. Totally agree with Al.
    Ro...couldn't have said it better myself
    ill Mami.....ROTF LMAO.

  5. Nicely done Ro....but Damn, bottom line is many folks have never understood Hip Hop or considered it to be a true art form as they have other genres of music & other art forms, therefore they will never respect or understand those who have love for Hip Hop...period.

  6. Am I the only one who believes this answer is generated by his communications staff anyway?

  7. @ anon: Yes. Also, in the Rolling Stone article Obama says that his personal aide Reggie Love makes suggestions. Like many people, I bet the President has a gang of songs on his iPod that he's never even listened to that were put there by friends, aides, etc.
    @ ill Mami: This post would like to skip the steak and go straight for the cheesy biscuits. Please and thank you.

  8. People needs some damn Foldger's in their system like it's nobody business!! I could give a rats ass about what he has on his playlist. If you do, seek threaphy and look for a life. My only concern is the good he's doing for this country. Since when did it become essential to invade someone's privacy (yes, his Ipod playlist, his shit), instead of focusing on the activitites and agendas this man is trying to complete for our country's future. I guess no one thought of that. I swear, people these days.