Obama’s summer playlist: One of the last big public statements he’ll make in office

Obama’s summer playlist: One of the last big public statements he’ll make in office
Crush it, dog.

[Ed. – And no, those aren’t my words.  Salon has rendered that judgment.  Which comes to think of it — if we’re talking “intentional declarative public statements,” big or any other size — is probably pretty accurate.]

President Obama has dropped a summer playlist (or rather, two — one for daytime listening and one for the evening) that will be among his final statements before leaving office. Obama has seen his approval ratings go higher than usual this year, and he’s been in a don’t-give-a-damn phase of his presidency, but few politicians do anything without calculating how it will land. This release, for instance, may’ve been timed to head off Donald Trump’s accusation that Obama was “the founder of ISIS.” In any case, it’s worth looking at as a document of how the president wants to see himself as well as how we wants us to see him.

At the most general level, this is a smart, wide-ranging list, with a mix of hip-hop, rock, jazz and funk. There’s not much on it that’s obvious or overplayed, and it all tends to be music that someone who really listens might like: This is not just what TV commercials and big marketers beam at us. …

[He’s not only handsome but a powerful man.  The rest continues along these general lines. – Ed.]

Given the enormous enthusiasm with which GOP candidates have embraced rap, Obama’s list may have less hip hop than, say, Marco Rubio’s equivalent might have. Generally, Obama has chosen hip hop from the smarter, less violent side of things. Chance the Rapper and Common also have the advantage of being, like Obama, from Chicago.

Obama’s hip hop selections have two notable omissions: Kanye West and the Beyonce. Obama may simply not be moved by the often-abstract music of his fellow Chicagoan. And the music from “Lemonade” may be too politically confrontational for Obama to feel comfortable putting it on his list. (This said, his list is not free of political or protest-driven content.) …

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