As Barack Obama enters his final month in office after eight years as president of the United States, many are reflecting on his legacy on politics and culture. Kendrick Lamar is reflecting on Obama's time in the Oval Office and in a recent interview, thanking him for allowing hip-hop into the white house.
Speaking to XXL before his show in Brooklyn on Friday for American Express, Kendrick said, "I think the world, not just hip-hop owes him."
He gives Obama credit for bringing rappers into the White House, citing himself, Rick Ross, J. Cole and Nicki Minaj as examples of those who were able to go, meet him and have discussions with him on meaningful topics.
"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," says the rapper.
"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 is referencing the My Brother's Keeper Initiative, which invited all of the aforementioned rappers to the White House in April for a discussion on justice reform and ways to mentor young black men in disadvantaged urban communities. Other rappers who have been involved include Pusha T, Wale and Ludacris.
Lamar almost spoke about how Obama could make you feel like a friend and was always welcoming, despite his status as the most powerful man in the free world.
"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."
President Obama has been a high-profile fan of Lamar's for some time now. He met with Lamar back in January and Lamar performed at Malia Obama's birthday in July.