By Annie Reuter
As President Obama’s term comes to a close, Kendrick Lamar looks back fondly on America’s first black president. Recently, Lamar discussed the importance of Obama’s inclusive leadership in office and how he invited many rappers, himself included, into the White House.
“I think the world, not just hip-hop owes him,” the rapper told XXL. “We all have to give him his credit due for even allowing us into the building. We would probably never get inside that [White] 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.’”
Lamar visited the White House several times throughout 2016. His first meeting with Obama was back in January, and he also performed at a birthday party for Obama’s daughter, Malia, in July.
“Hopefully when I get to be the older gentleman like himself, [I’ll] be able to carry myself in this type of manner,” Lamar said about Obama, noting that his humble demeanor was what took him off guard at their first meeting in January.
“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—that’s probably the best moment and one of his best characteristics,” Lamar continued. “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.”