President Obama on His Music Tastes: "My Rap Palate Has Greatly Improved"

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Sep. 28 2010, Published 11:03 a.m. ET

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President Barack Obama opens up on a wide variety of topics in the new issue of Rolling Stone, from the war in Afghanistan to his views on Fox News and the Tea Party, how his music tastes have evolved and even reveals the iconic artist who deliberately passed up a photo op with himself and First Lady Michelle Obama.

"My iPod now has about 2,000 songs, and it is a source of great pleasure to me," the President tells Rolling Stone. "I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff. There's still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards."

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Obama gives a shout out to his personal aide, Reggie Love, to whom his "rap palate has greatly improved."

"Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I've got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert," he continued. "Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days."

So who snubbed the prez and First Lady on a photo opp?

"Usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn't show up to that," Obama says of the legendary Bob Dylan, who visited the White House to perform his classic folk song "The Times They Are A-Changin'."

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"Here's what I love about Dylan: He was exactly as you'd expect he would be," Obama says. "Finishes the song, steps off the stage — I'm sitting right in the front row — comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin and then leaves. And that was it. And I thought: That's how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don't want him to be all cheesin' and grinnin' with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise. So that was a real treat."


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