It happened in the Rose Garden.
President Obama is the first U.S. president to openly embrace hip-hop culture. He has invited Jay-Z and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs to the White House, and even quoted rap lyrics in his speeches. The president’s comfort with the music once dubbed the “CNN of the ’hood” by Public Enemy’s Chuck D, has been emblematic of the administration’s move toward greater inclusiveness in the nation’s capital.
By 2012, it seemed the president had backed off his full-throated embrace of hip-hop culture. He released a 29-song campaign playlist that suspiciously contained zero hip-hop. Some believe it was to avoid controversy after the GOP chastised the first lady for inviting rapper-actor Common to a White House poetry event.
Last week, Obama brought hip-hop back to the White House with a performance by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda in the Rose Garden. In the video of the event, the president throws out topics on cards, while Miranda deftly improvises lyrics. A composer, playwright, rapper, and Grammy Award winner, Miranda had previously performed for the president in 2009.