Arts Desk

Playlist: My President Is Back

Themed playlists can be brilliant but a lot of themed playlists can go to hell. They're like cooking challenges with mandatory lavender. Cute trick, bro, but what am I supposed to feel?

I hadn’t brushed up on the local races, and I even considered not voting given the overwhelmingly pro-Obama electorate in the District. At the last minute I rushed over to McKinley High School’s massive auditorium and knocked it out on a paper ballot just after 8 p.m. Twitter was on an inspirational kick. The lines were long, yet enthusiastic, like probably most of the country—a population determined to fight attempts at voter suppression. Three hours later my neighborhood was celebrating the results.

Times like these need a soundtrack. Young Jeezy's “My President” remains brilliant because it’s a message song without any sort of message. It’s about his wealth and how annoyed he is that his son is really into Polos, and more about how he feels leading up to November 2008. Nas' self-serious passage sort of ruins it at the end. But the beat is triumphant and the bass knocks, and it’s tough to listen to without rallying a nonexistent audience to throw their hands in the air and get the fuck up.

So, you bump that Jeezy. Afterward, you want to ride the momentum up the elevator to the office. You deserve Kanye West rapping about George Tenet. You need a little Frank Ocean because Maryland and Maine came through for the cause. You need Southern, screwed up anthems, Chicago swerve, and those great radio singles from 2008: John Legend going hard in the paint for the ladies; Estelle the one-hit wonder. You want Usher and Jeezy on “Love In This Club," super bombastic and full of glistening synths. Tracks from 2008 serve as a killer time capsule from a year when too few asked why it was OK for politicians to blame the auto industry’s collapse on union workers. Who could blame rap when the deepest question it posed was, “Have you ever made love to a thug in the club with his sights on?”

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