The Washington Post

Young Jeezy, President Obama and the White House’s complicated relationship with hip-hop

Correction: A previous version of this blog post incorrectly referenced the name of the song, “My President.” This version has been corrected.

The zingers were zinging at Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, but one seemed to fall a smidge flat: President Obama’s promise to start singing Young Jeezy songs in public if he wins a second term.

“In my first term I sang Al Green,” the president said, referencing his off-the-cuff performance of Green’s “Let's Stay Together” at the Apollo Theatre in January. “In my second term, I'm going with Young Jeezy.” (Watch the full speech here.)

The laughs were tepid, presumably because the audience wasn’t all that familiar with Young Jeezy, the powerhouse Atlanta rapper who sang Obama’s praises in 2008 with the hit single “My President.”

And while Jeezy was quick to tip his hat to the POTUS on Twitter, he probably shouldn’t wait by his mailbox for an invitation to the White House.

”In my 1st term I sang Al Green, In my 2nd term I will sing Young Jeezy” - @BarackObama

— SnowGo (@YoungJeezy) April 29, 2012

This administration loves music, but has had a complicated relationship with hip-hop, a genre that vocalized so much support for Obama’s 2008 campaign. Since then, the White House hasn’t formally recognized hip-hop at its semi-regular concert series, and found itself dodging criticism after inviting the well-regarded rapper-actor Common to perform at a poetry event in May of 2011. (Critics zeroed-in on a Common couplet criticizing George W. Bush.)

But the president still appears to enjoy hip-hop. He welcomed Jay-Z for a hush-hush White House visit in March of 2010, hours before the rap superstar was scheduled to headline the Verizon Center. The rapper’s wife, Beyonce, came along, too. But he wasn’t accompanied by his opening act: Young Jeezy.

View Photo Gallery: The famous and the powerful mingle at the 98th annual White House Correspondents’ dinner in Washington.

Chris Richards is The Washington Post's pop music critic. He has recently written about the genius of Young Thug, the endurance of go-go music, and the pleasure of listening to loud sounds in the dark.


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