With November 2016, and our potential apocalypse—er, presidential election—rapidly approaching, it’s high time we appreciate the White House of the past eight years. And, finally, a lot of people have taken to doing just that, and there is no better time to continue to do that than today: President Obama’s 55th birthday, his final one in the Oval Office.
Setting politics aside, the Hawaiian-born president has easily been the coolest to ever lead the executive branch, IMHO, by doing such things as helping to introduce the world to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, and appearing on Between Two Ferns and Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast. And, along the way, our 44th Commander-in-Chief has also made some pretty impressive friends, many from the world of popular rap and hip-hop musical stylings. Let’s take a look back at some of the dopest among them:
Kendrick Lamar: Obama met in the oval office with Lamar, the reigning best MC alive. The President’s favorite song of 2015 was “How Much A Dollar Cost,” from his brilliant To Pimp A Butterfly, and the rapper/poet is a strong voice for social justice in our current culture. That this meeting happened should be anything but a surprise.
Kanye: Like the rest of us, it appears that the President was able to get over Kanye’s obnoxious behavior at the 2009 VMAs, taking the time to pose for this picture with the polarizing hip-hop artist and his reality star wife, Kim Kardashian. Whether he’s Team Kimye or Team Taylor, though, is another question.
The Bennett's X Obama pic.twitter.com/TRiwoFANJb
— Taylor Bennett (@_TaylorBennett) November 11, 2013
Chance The Rapper: Look at this! Look at young Chance The Rapper (second from left), with the rest of his family—including brother Taylor Bennett, a burgeoning rapper himself (and a friend of Northside)—with an also-young Barack Obama. Chance’s dad, Ken Williams-Bennett, seen in the photo, has had a lengthy career in government, working for Obama when he was an Illinois senator, and now works for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emannuel. Surely an early-career highlight for one of the biggest breakout stars in all of the music industry.
Wale: President Obama appears here with popular D.C. area rapper/Seinfeld fan Wale, who has worked with POTUS a few times. Most recently, the rapper opened the night up for the President’s final State of the Union speech.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 15, 2016
Lin-Manuel Miranda: And finally, here, our hero from the Chicago’s South Side goes full circle, trading freestyle bars with Hamilton star and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Lin-Manuel Miranda, as the Broadway victor returned to the White House.
Kendrick Lamar photos via Top Dawg Entertainment and Vimeo. Wale photo via Instagram. All other images courtesy of Twitter, Instagram.