Kendrick Lamar: Hip-Hop Owes President Obama for Allowing Us Into the White House
As two men at the top of their game, Kendrick Lamar and President Barack Obama have a few things in common. Rap fans flipped out when the two met for the first time and now that Obama's time in office is coming to a close, hip-hop has shown the nation's first Black president more love than ever.
XXL caught up with Kendrick before his American Express pop-up show in Brooklyn Friday night (Dec. 16) to hear his thoughts on Obama's past eight years and what he's done for hip-hop.
"I think the world, not just hip-hop owes him," said K-Dot. "We all have to give him his credit due for even allowing us into the building. We would probably never get inside that house ever again. Think about it like that. Rick Ross, Cole, Nicki Minaj, he really went for us to come experience it. This is something our grandparents always wanted to see, never thought in a million years, but [we can] pass it down to our generation to say, 'Alright, I’m in here and I’m finna use my power to let ya’ll see how this thing works and I'mma drop some knowledge on y'all that a man can’t drop on everybody else 'cause y'all have the most influence.'”
Kendrick of course was referring to Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative, which invited all the aforementioned rap stars and more to the White House in April for a historic discussion on criminal justice reform.
President Obama, who has long since been a fan of Kendrick's music, invited the Compton rapper to the Oval Office for their first solo face-to-face meeting back in January. Since then, the 44th president has invited Cornrow Kenny back to the White House many times. Lamar performed at the birthday party of Obama's daughter Malia back in July and K. Dot even challenged the Commander-in-Chief to a game of basketball recently.
Kendrick went on to say that he sees certain qualities of the president in himself—"hopefully when I get to be the older gentleman like himself, [I’ll] be able to carry myself in this type of manner"—and that Obama's humble demeanor was definitely what surprised him the most during their first meeting.
"You look at him as such a high figure in the world, but for him to embrace you and have a connection with you further than just being the President and make you feel like an actual friend," Lamar remembered. "That’s probably the best moment and one of his best characteristics. I meet a lot of people in high places and sometimes they get so detached from the world and from the people, they don’t even know how to interact with you. Basically watching him interact with my mother, my little niece, myself as a human, I think that’s the greatest thing."
Check out a snap shot of Kendrick's dope #AMEXxKendrick performance and who else in rap President Obama has embraced over the years below.
6 Pictures of President Obama With Rappers