Former President Barack Obama showed a knack for curating playlists during his presidency, including an epic two-part summer playlist and a gym playlist revealing his go-to songs for pumping iron. Now, he’s back with a new playlist through his post-presidency Obama Foundation.
This time around, Obama has recruited guest curators to pick out songs reminding them of their hometown. The first batch focuses on Chicago and features submissions by Chance the Rapper, Mavis Staples, Jennifer Hudson, Nick Offerman, Dan Aykroyd, and many former White House staffers.
Not surprisingly, Chance paid tribute to one of his Windy City mentors and idols by selecting “Family Business” by Kanye West, stating that it reminds him how important it is to be home. Staples selected “Keep On Pushing” by Curtis Mayfield because it encourages him to “think of tomorrow, don’t give up, and feel your strength,” while Hudson picked the self-explanatory “I Believe” by Mali Music.
In contrast, actor Nick Offerman took the sentimental route with “Get Behind the Mule and Come up to the House” by Tom Waits. While he cited Wilco as his “#1 Chicago band,” he chose the song as a remembrance of his ambitious work with the Defiant Theatre in the 90s. Aykroyd also mined the past with his selection of Nick Gravenites’ cry of urban despair, “Born In Chicago”, a prescient “statement about personal firearms violence and the insanity of social equality.”