Barack Obama Explains Why A Song From Jay-Z’s ‘The Black Album’ Means So Much To Him

Barack Obama hasn’t been the president of the United States for over four years now, but he still has plenty of admirers who are eager to hear from him. That especially true of his music preferences, as he often shares well-received playlists. Fans were surely delighted a few weeks ago, then, when the former POTUS made a post on Instagram asking for questions from his followers. In his response to one of those questions, he explained why a particular Jay-Z song from The Black Album means to much to him.

Complex cited Obama’s well-known love of hip-hop and asked, “Do you have one verse you can recite by heart? Obama responded with a video, which Complex shared. In the clip, Obama begins, “First of all, Complex: you do not want to hear me rap. 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.”

He went on to speak about The Black Album‘s closing track, “My 1st Song”:

“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, so somehow, that inspired me.

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.’ 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 a snippet of Obama’s answer below.