Once Upon a Black-Ass White House: Questlove Revisits the Time President Obama Wanted to Turn Up to French Montana

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

While mothership pilot George Clinton once threatened to paint the White House black, in 2008 it actually happened—ushering in an era of unprecedented pride, pigment and progress.

We swag surfed on the White House lawn, Obama threw black ass house parties, and melanin magic became synonymous with 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Fast forward to 2019, and it’s safe to say the thrill is gone.

But according to Complex, on a recent episode of the Broken Record podcast—co-hosted by the motley crew of Malcom Gladwell, Bruce Headlam, and hip-hop legend Rick Rubin—Questlove recalled the time he was DJing and our 44th president was in dire need of some French Montana.

“So two hours into it, he taps me on the shoulder, ‘You’re doing a good job! I love the Donna Summer and the old school hip-hop and the jazz. But look at them, they wanna have fun too!’ And he’s pointing to his kids. They’re having a sit-in,” Questlove said, impersonating our former president. “They’re looking at me like, ‘Nah, none of this shit works.’ So then, I became the DJ I hated. I’m like googling, let me go to Spotify see what kids are listening to. I became that guy, the guy I hate the most. Suddenly, that night became Animal House, the most debaucherous…”

But it gets better, because the Chicago native had a very specific request.

“[Obama’s] coming up to me like, ‘Do you have French Montana?’ And I’m like, ‘Sir! I don’t have the clean versions of that.’ He’s like, ‘We’re all adults here. Play it!’ I’m like, ‘Sir, I’m not gonna play ‘Pop that pussy, bitch, what ya twerkin’ wit.’”

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It’s a topic he’s broached before on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, admitting that the situation was so traumatic that it “forced” him “into retirement” for six months.

I’m probably not the only one who can listen to stories like this all day. Hopefully somebody puts together a documentary so we can all relive that magical period in time.

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About the author

Jay Connor

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.