The White House officially released President Barack Obama’s Campaign playlist.
Have you seen it yet? It’s quite good.
The playlist consists of 29 songs that fall within a wide spectrum of musical genres: pop, rock, country and soul are all covered by some of the most popular acts of the last 20 years.
Yep, that’s a solid list, with no glaring snubs, right?
You see, of those 29 songs, there’s not one hip-hop record to be found.
I find this incredibly fascinating, considering that hip-hop has been the most influential and the most popular genre of music over the last ten-plus years.
So what’s up with the slight?
There’s this perception, one that I was never quite 100 percent sure about, that Obama and hip-hop are buddies.
And I guess when comparing it to previous presidents, this is somewhat true.
In the past, hip-hop and our presidents have been on awful terms. Since the culture really started to become a force in the mid 80s, rap acts have pretty much unanimously ripped every Commander-in-Chief we’ve had, from the super conservative presidents (Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes) to the more liberal-minded leader we’ve had (rappers had little love for Bill Clinton.)
However, when President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, there was almost universal approval by all rappers, with really the only exception being Lupe Fiasco.
Young Jeezy, Nas and Jay-Z all gave their Chief some lyrical dap.
And, yet, even though he has been more closely associated with the culture than any other president, and he’s done cool hip-hop things like dust his shoulders off, namedrop Jay-Z and invite Common to the White House, I’ve always kind of sensed that hip-hop loved Obama more than Obama loved hip-hop.
Him not having one hip-hop song on his official campaign playlist kind of confirms this for me.
Now, to be fair, I’m sure there’s a million things on his to do list, and what songs to play during the campaign tour probably falls on the last page. In fact, representatives from The White House told The Washington Post via e-mail that staff members and volunteers suggested the songs.
This is probably true. However, I do know that staff members spend hours going over the tiniest details, so this wasn’t an oversight. This was a calculated decision to leave rap off of the playlist, and it’s one that disappoints me, considering that hip-hop music is the soundtrack for a lot of the young, liberal generation that vote and supports Obama (Like me!).
It’s not like I’m asking for a French Montana song to be added to the playlist (even though I find the mental image of Obama bopping to the stage while “Shot Caller” plays to be uproariously funny). But I think a song from K’naan, The Roots, Common, Jay-Z or something even old-school like A Tribe Called Quest would have been a pretty cool gesture.