Obama Says He’s the One Behind His Annual Playlists, Not an Intern: ‘Don’t Play With Me’

Obama breaks down his "very scrupulous" approach to making his much-discussed playlists.

barack obama giving speech
barack obama giving speech

Barack Obama is aware of what some have said about his annual playlists, affirming in a new interview that the yearly collections of songs are accurate snapshots of his taste.

Speaking with Hasan Minhaj, as seen below, the former POTUS was asked if he “really” listens to the music featured on his much-discussed playlists.

“I do,” Obama, whose 2022 mix of favorites spanned everything from SZA to Plains, said. “Listen, I am so glad that I had this opportunity. People, they believe the books and the movies. But the playlists, they somehow think—and this is mostly coming from young people like you—somehow y’all think you invented rock ’n’ roll, you invented hip-hop. And so the fact that my lists are, you know, pretty incredible, people seem to think, ‘Well, he must have had some 20-year-old intern who was figuring out this latest cut.’ No, man. It’s on my iPad right now.”

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When Minhaj cited Obama’s recent inclusion of SiR’s Scribz Riley-featuring “Life Is Good” as an example, pushing the ex-president on whether that particular track was indeed currently saved to his device, Obama pushed back.

“Don’t play with me,” he joked before elaborating further on his playlist approach, noting the “bottom line” that applies to them all. Previously, Obama noted that his daughters, Sasha and Malia, do offer the occasional listening recommendation during any given year.

“I am very scrupulous about making sure that this is stuff that I actually like,” he explained. “I will confess that there are times on the playlists, on the music lists, where I will get suggestions. Because it’s not like I got time to be listening to music all the time. So typically, at the end of the year, what happens is folks will be like, ‘Man, you need listen to this. This is good.’ But unless I’m actually listening to it, watching it, reading it—I won’t put it on there.”

Obama’s 2022 recs from his year-end and summer collections also included Kendrick Lamar, Bad Bunny, Ari Lennox, Ethel Cain, Wet Leg, Lil Yachty, Kacey Musgraves, and more.

Presumably, we're due for another Obama playlist in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

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