In this weekly column, MC/DJ Hesta Prynn pairs pop culture stories with an original playlist.
In hip-hop when we talk about "presidents," nine times out of ten we're talking about the dead kind. That, of course, was before Barack Obama took office. Once upon a time playing saxophone on Arsenio was cool. Our current president, however, is fist-bumping with an Independent Woman, bromancing with Jay-Z and singing Al Green. It's safe to say the bar has been significantly raised. In honor of the second inauguration of the Dopest President Ever, this week's Five 'n' Five pairs the five coolest presidents with their '90s hip-hop theme songs.
1. Barack Obama - Nas: "The World is Yours"
Before the hook of this song sparked the most famous East Coast rap battle ever, Nas gave us food for thought with "I'm out for presidents to represent me. I'm out for dead presidents to represent me." In the end, he got both. Congrats Barack, the world is yours for four more years.
2. Bill Clinton - Wreckx-n-Effect: "Rump Shaker"
Our second coolest president loved the saxophone as much as he loved an ample woman. Literally all he wanted to do was umma zoom zoom in a boom boom, and by "umma zoom zoom" I mean do nasty things with a cigar and by "boom boom" I mean Monica Lewinsky.
3. Abraham Lincoln - Queen Latifah: "U.N.I.T.Y."
Often credited with bringing our nation together, this amazing feminist anthem is a perfect theme song for Lincoln. A reaction to the conventional images of women in hip-hop at the time, this song showcased Latifah's ferocity and willingness to buck the current trend. The circumstances are different but the story is the same. Who you callin' a bitch?
4. John Kennedy - Pete Rock and CL Smooth: "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)"
The wistful tone of this record could soundtrack a black-and-white film of Jack and Jackie too perfectly. Everyone reminisces over Kennedy.
5. Benjamin Franklin - Puff Daddy featuring Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim & The LOX: "All About the Benjamins"
So much talk of dead presidents and yet the namesake of "the Benjamin" was not a president at all. This founding father (allegedly) discovered electricity by flying a kite during a rainstorm. These days he is more commonly seen "making it rain" at the strip club. Full circle moment.