The leader of the free world has a decent jump shot, still embarrasses his kids with his dad jokes, and loves rap music. With just over a year left in the Oval Office, Barack Obama president told People Magazine in an interview that his favorite song of the year comes from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly.
Lamar received 11 nominations for this year’s upcoming Grammy Awards—topping Taylor Swift and the Weeknd—including Album of the Year for To Pimp A Butterfly, which coincidentally has an album cover showing the White House. Obama’s favorite song of the year is the album’s “How Much A Dollar Cost,” featuring Ronald Isley and James Fauntleroy.
According to the annotation site Genius, the song tells the story of a South African man who asks Lamar for 10 rand (roughly $1).
Initially Kendrick says no and feels resentment as the man who continues to berate him. After asking if he’d read Exodus 14, Kendrick begins to feel guilty and sympathetic towards the man.
His selfishness, towards which he attributes his success, eventually comes out most in his interactions with the homeless man. At that point, the man reveals himself to be God – his selfishness & unwillingness to give the homeless man a dollar has cost him his place in Heaven.
Obama has a history of referencing rap music on the campaign trail and in the White House—though he hasn’t always given positive reviews. In 2008, Obama told reporters he was listening to Jay-Z, but he also talked about misogynistic and materialistic some rap music can be, and wished his daughters could listen to rap music “without me having to worry about them getting bad images of themselves.”
Earlier this year, POTUS told a group of young people that as much as he loves the music, his rapping skills are lacking. “That’s the one thing I cannot do,” said the president. And certainly, we can all remember that time when Obama did an awkward “slow jam” of news with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots.