At the recent White House Correspondents Dinner, President Barack Obama, a staunch music lover, surprised everyone in attendance by making reference to the much-publicized controversy surrounding the recent trip to Cuba made by rap superstar Jay-Z and his megastar wife, Beyoncé. With his usual wit, the president quipped, “This whole controversy with Jay-Z (and Beyoncé) going to Cuba, it’s unbelievable! I’ve got 99 problems and now Jay-Z (and Beyonce) are one!”
Mr. Obama’s No. 1 preference is not hip-hop — he leans more towards Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire — but he keeps an open mind and you will find many kinds of music on his iPod. For those who are completely not hip-hop inclined, “99 Problems” is one of the songs made popular by Jay-Z, described by one national publication as “the greatest rapper alive.”
And speaking of descriptions, another publication somewhat jokingly labeled Obama as “history’s most hip-hop commander in chief.” Maybe it all started when on another occasion Mr. Obama sang a few lines from Al Green’s classic hit “Let’s Stay Together” (he can really sing!), or maybe it was when, as a presidential candidate, he cut a few steps with Ellen DeGeneres on her popular daytime TV show. In any event, there has never been a president like this one — for more reasons than one.