Quiet as it's kept, Barack Obama's affection for the music of Jay-Z, hip hop artist extraordinaire, serves him well not so much with droopy-drawer young brothers from the 'hood but rather with hip young whites who are the major fans of the music genre.
Jay-Z, once a resident of the rough Marcy housing projects on the edges of Bed-Stuy, is in fact the featured artist at the upcoming , world-renowned Glastonbury music festival in South West England.
In some ways it could be said that Jay-Z, in the minds of some young devotees of Obama, has come to represent the cultural roots of the presidential candidate's vaunted cool-ness.
Some might remember, a couple of months back, after a debate in which the ABC questioners seemed to gang up on Barack and toss softies at Hillary Clinton, Obama met with a gathering of supporters (no, fans) and told them that the thing to do when under such pressure is simple:
Just brush the dirt off your shoulders.
And in a memorable gesture, he did just that, rubbing the symbolic dust off one shoulder and then the other.
[To see and hear Obama following the advice of Brooklyn's Jay-Z, click the side-pointing triangle in the image below.]
The phrase in question comes from a Jay-Z hit, "Dirt off Your Shoulder," that in some ways is as raunchy as any rap piece, but that carries a special significance, in the way of telling how to attain coolness without hurting others.
Ah, who would have guessed that wise counsel from a Brooklyn public housing project would be fuel for a candidate's journey to the White House?
[read about Jay-Z's upcoming appearance in England, itself a topic of some controversy ignited by guitar, rock-loving purists. click here.]
[read a Gawker piece about how conservatives are turning Barack's hip-hop connections into Fox fodder to be used against him. click here.]
[lastly, to see and hear Jay-Z performing "Dirt off Your Shoulder, click the side-pointing triangle in the image below.]