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Obama picks Jay-Z over Kanye

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President Barack Obama--hip to cool culture whether it be music, sports or other stuff--prefers Jay-Z to Kanye, though he likes both, reports David Samuels over at The Atlantic.

Samuels got the scoop while reporting on a profile of Kanye West.

Excerpt from The Atlantic story, "American Mozart" when Obama is asked, "Kanye or Jay-Z?"

"The president smiles. "Jay-Z," he says, as if the answer should be obvious. When it comes to the most meaningful pop-cultural divide of the moment, the question of whether you prefer Kanye West or Jay-Z--the top two hip-hop artists in the world, who recently joined forces for a national mega-tour called Watch the Throne--Barack Obama is clearly a Jay-Z guy. Jay-Z is about control ...

"Although I like Kanye," Obama continues, with an easy smile. "He's a Chicago guy. Smart. He's very talented." He is displaying his larger awareness of the question, looking relaxed, cerebral but friendly, alive to the moment, waiting for me to get to the heart of the matter.

"Even though you called him a jackass?," I ask.

"He is a jackass," Obama says, in his likable and perfectly balanced modern-professorial voice. "But he's talented." The president gives a wink, poses for a few more pictures, and then glides away to meet with the rich Manhattan lawyers in the other room, leaving behind a verdict that he intended to be funny, and also entirely deliberate: even before an audience of one, the leader of the free world is still not letting Kanye West off the hook."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 12, 2012 10:05 AM.

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