Barack Obama’s Favorite Song of 2015 Was Kendrick Lamar’s ‘How Much a Dollar Cost’
The weakest song on 'To Pimp a Butterfly'
In a new interview with People, President Obama revealed that his favorite song of the year was a cut from Kendrick Lamar’s epochal To Pimp a Butterfly — SPIN’s Best Album of 2015. His pick for Song of the Year? The relatively hokey “How Much a Dollar Cost?” (First lady Michelle Obama prefers Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ more sprightly “Uptown Funk,” which made our 2015 list of favorite songs as well.)
Of “How Much a Dollar Cost?” Stereogum’s Tom Breihan wrote in a premature evaluation: “‘How Much a Dollar Cost’ is a long parable about Kendrick meeting a homeless man at a gas station, refusing to give him any money, and then finding out that the homeless man is God. This is heavy, heady stuff. Kendrick is wrestling, often messily, with big ideas.”
Which isn’t necessarily a diss, and the track’s “Pyramid Song”-esque piano gives it an ominous chill. But almost everything else on the record (“King Kunta,” “Alright,” “These Walls,” “The Blacker the Berry”) gives the lofty tune a run for its money. Maybe Obama thought it was a cooler, more obscure pick, but on the subject matter alone it’s certainly one of the safer choices. It’s definitely one of the least contentious and anti-authority tracks on Butterfly. Hmm…