Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 album has received its biggest endorsement via President Barack Obama. In a recent interview with BBC One, Jay-Z disclosed that the President loved the LP and was playing it during their recent phone conversation.
“Barack loves hip-hop, when I called him he was playing Blueprint in the gym,” he explained. “I've been invited to the White House a couple of times. Hopefully we'll keep him in for 8 years so I'll have time to get there."
Obama has been a self-admitted hip-hop fan for years, and first met Jay-Z in 2008 as part of his goal to help emcees use their art to spark critical thinking and bridge generational rifts.
Also, the then U.S. senator was hopeful to see hip-hop artists as a whole move away from the misogyny and materialistic slant that’s gripped the art form’s mainstream in recent years.
“I've met with Jay-Z, I've met with Kanye [West]. And I've talked to other artists about how potentially to bridge that gap. I think the potential for them to deliver a message of extraordinary power that gets people thinking [is great]," Obama told BET on the special What’s In It For Us? “There are times, even on the artists I've named, the artists that I love, that there is a message that's sometimes degrading to women, uses the N-word a little too frequently. But also something that I'm really concerned about is they're always talking about material things about how I can get something; more money, more cars.”
Jay-Z acknowledged the hip-hop nation’s potential political power, but rejected the notion that artists should tone down their messages. Instead, he insisted that artists have a responsibility to speak on the uncomfortable truths of society, and not relegate their art to propaganda.
"Sometimes there are hard truths in rap, they're not packaged with pretty ribbons. Sometimes the realities of the situations are harsh and they need to be told,” Jay reasoned to the BBC. “We're the poets of our generation! Those truths and those honesties need to be told and sometimes that will rub people the wrong way but that don't mean you don't tell them. I think when rap is done brilliantly it can inform you of a problem, things that are going on."
Even as the pro-Obama hip-hop songs slowed following the President’s January 2009 inauguration, Jay-Z has remained one of his strongest supporters.
The Brooklyn native spoke favorably of Obama throughout Blueprint 3, including the songs “What We Talkin’ About,” “On to the Next One,” and “Reminder.”
Today (Feb. 19), President Obama will hold a town hall meeting at Nevada’s Henderson high school, followed by speaking engagements at the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.