Hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, whose latest album boasts a controversial cover and explicit lyrics, met with President Obama in the Oval Office on Monday.
The two reportedly discussed a variety of issues. The White House has not commented on the content of the meeting but Lamar said in a “Pay It Forward” PSA that they talked about topics related to the inner cities and the importance of youth -mentoring programs.
The PSA was created in support of the National Mentoring Partnership, which supports affiliate mentorship programs, and featured photos of Grammy-winner Lamar with Obama. The president declared January National Mentoring Month.
Obama has said the rapper’s “How Much a Dollar Cost” was his favorite song of 2015.
That was off Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” album, which shows a group of African-American men in front of the White House holding champagne bottles and hundred-dollar bills on top of the dead body of a white judge.
During an interview last year, Lamar commented on the meaning of the cover.
“You look at these individuals and you look at them as bad people or a menace to society, but they’re actually good people, just a product of their environment,” he said. “Only God can judge these individuals right here. Not no one with a gavel handing out football numbers of years and not giving these kids a chance at life. Every n**** is a star.”
Lamar’s Interscope Records albums have a “parental advisory” label and consist of several songs with explicit lyrics referencing sex, drugs, alcohol and guns.
“Me and my n***** four deep in a white Toyota. A quarter tank of gas, one pistol, and orange soda. Janky stash box when the federales roll up. Basketball shorts with the Gonzales Park odor. We on the mission for bad bitches and trouble,” Lamar raps on the song, “The Art of Peer Pressure.” “I hope the universe love you today ‘cause the energy we bringing sure to carry away a flock of positive activists and fill the body with hate if it’s necessary.”
On “Blacker The Berry,” Lamar raps, “Six in the morning, fire in the street. Burn, baby burn, that’s all I wanna see and sometimes I get off watching you die in vain. It’s such a shame they may call me crazy. They may say I suffer from schizophrenia or something. But homie you made me. Black don’t crack my n****.”
On “Swimming Pools (Drank),” Lamar raps, “N**** why you babysittin’ only 2 or 3 shots? I’m a show you how to turn it up a notch. First you get a swimming pool full of liquor, then you dive in it. Pool full of liquor, then you dive in it.”
Lamar’s song “Institutionalized” features Anna Wise, who sings, “If I was the president, I’d pay my mama’s rent, free my homies and them, bulletproof my Chevy doors, lay in the White House and get high, Lord, who ever thought? Master take the chains off me.”
Lamar, 28, refers to Obama on the song “Hood Politics.”
“Red state versus a blue state, which one you governin’? They give us guns and drugs, call us thugs. Make it they promise to f*** with you. No condom they f*** with you, Obama say, ‘What it do?’”
In response to Obama’s meeting with Lamar, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) criticized the president for not finding time to meet with him “to discuss civil liberties and surveillance issues despite repeated requests.”
In another tweet, the libertarian Amash said it was “great” he met with Lamar but suggested he meet with members of Congress about “critical issues.”