President Barack Obama’s got 99 problems and they include multiple rappers claiming false friendships with him.
On “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Thursday night, Obama put both Kanye West and Jay Z on blast for claiming they’re in closer contact with the president than they are in reality.
In a characteristic brag, West recently said during a lecture at Oxford University that he can “call Obama out of the blue,” adding that “Obama calls the home phone.” The president was complimentary toward the Chicago rapper — who he’s previously called a “jackass” — but said he doubted that was true.
“Look, I love his music, he’s incredibly creative, but I don’t think I have his home number,” he told Kimmel.
And he also raised doubts about Jay Z’s claim that “of course” he texts with the president.
“Yeah, I’ve spoken to him on the phone and had texts from Obama, of course,” the hip-hop legend and business mogul said on a radio show in 2013. Jay Z also rapped in 2009 that he has Obama “on the text.”
But Obama undercut Jay Z’s brag on Thursday night when he told Kimmel that he doesn’t text or use a smartphone.
“I don’t text. I email. I still have a Blackberry,” he told Kimmel, while discussing his tech habits. Obama said that for security reasons, he can’t use a phone or any of “that new fangled stuff” that includes any sort of recording device. The conversation came in the wake of the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s private email account.
Obama and Jay Z are close. The rapper has hosted a fundraiser for Obama and his megastar wife, Beyonce, sang at Obama’s first inaugural ball and lip synced at his second inaugural. But their relationship may have been strained when Jay Z rapped in 2013 that he got “White House clearance” for his trip to Cuba that spring, a lyric that raised eyebrows and caused a minor controversy.
President Obama has since announced an historic opening of U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba and an easing of the trade embargo against that country.
Back in 2013 The White House denied giving Jay Z any special treatment.
Time will tell if there’s a reason the president says he doesn’t text but the rap mogul says he gets texts from Obama.