Former US President Barack Obama said he listened to Jay-Z when he didn’t know whether or not he’d make it.
Recently, former United States President Barack Obama joined singer Bruce Springsteen to create a new, unlikely podcast called Renegades: Born in the USA. The two have been making weekly episodes since the end of February discussing their lives, traveling, money, family, and race relations in the US. During the podcast, Obama talked about how music has been an integral element in his life since day one, specifically citing one Jay-Z song.
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His comment about Jay-Z’s “My 1st Song” was prompted by a question from Complex when they asked if there was any rap verse that he could recite by heart. “First of all, Complex, you do not know want to hear me rap,” Obama answered.
“When I have tried to rap, my daughters have rolled their eyes, covered their ears. They think it’s painful. They even think my dancing is better than my rapping. Now, having said that, I’ve mentioned a couple of songs that even when I was running for president came up a lot on my iPod. One of them was ‘My 1st Song’ by Jay-Z, which is a song that I love because it talks about the struggle of just trying to make it. And sometimes you have to resort to false bravado and hustle and tamping down your insecurities and when I was running for president, obviously, at that point I didn’t know whether I was gonna make it.”
Obama got even more personal when talking about a specific line in the chorus. “There’s a line in there, ‘Treat my first as my last and my last as my first and my thirst is the same as when I came,’” Obama said. “And I actually kept on listening to that song during the presidency because it was a reminder that—even when you do make it—having a little bit of that sense of still being hungry, still having to work hard, still having to prove something, that’s what keeps propelling you forward. But I’m still not gonna rap it.”
Watch his full response on Complex’s Instagram below.