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Danny Groner

Danny Groner

Posted: September 28, 2010 11:21 PM

Does Obama Love Lil Wayne Or What?

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During a much-discussed Rolling Stone interview, President Obama was asked what's on his iPod. He named artists and bands that reflect an eclectic mix of R&B, folk, rock, and even some classical music. But it's his rap music tastes that have caught the attention of many. "Thanks to Reggie [Love, the president's personal aide], my rap palate has greatly improved," he said. "Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I've got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert.."

That comment has led some bloggers to riff on the president's musical tastes. "So by my tally, this is reason No. 249 why Barack Obama is the coolest president ever," says Entertainment Weekly's Brad Wete. "Take a page from Lil Wayne and listen to Drake," advises The Washington Post's Melissa Bell.

But this isn't the first time that Obama has mentioned, or been tied to, the rapper, who released his ninth album this week, a little over a month ahead of his release from a prison term on gun possession charges. Lil Wayne was among a number of rappers who rallied his fans to vote for Obama in 2008. Here, a look back at the two men's unlikely connections:

July 8, 2008: At a town hall meeting, Obama recommends that young African Americans finish school instead of relying on success from the NBA or the music industry. "You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Lil Wayne, but probably not, in which case you need to stay in school," The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates said that he believes Obama "gets leeway" to make these kinds of references because he is legitimate: "you can talk about Lil Wayne, when you have Jay-Z on your Ipod..."

September 13, 2008: Due to Hurricane Ike, Obama cancels his appearance on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. The episode was hosted by Michael Phelps and featured, you guessed it, musical guest Lil Wayne.

December 10, 2008: What do people Google most often? The site's "who is" search registered Lil Wayne as the 5th most searched for term in the 2008 year, ahead of Vice President (who finished 9th) but well behind Obama, who scored the No. 1 spot.

April 5, 2009: Jimmy Fallon jokes that Obama chose to give Queen Elizabeth an iPod as a gift during his London visit because "now she can listen to Lil Wayne on the treadmill without anyone bothering her."

July 16, 2009: Addressing a crowd at an NAACP event, Obama reiterates the message that young people "might think they've got a pretty good jump shot or a pretty good flow, but [they] can't all aspire to be LeBron or Lil Wayne."