Obama Born Day Celebration: EBONY Shares Some of Our Favorite Songs From Our Most Beloved POTUS’ Playlists

Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama turns 60 today (Aug. 4) and we mark the milestone with a curated soundtrack featuring classic faves of his from over the years.

Today, Aug. 4, marks the 60th revolution around the sun for former president Barack Obama—and he’s celebrating the occasion in style. Marking the milestone with his celebrity-friends, family and former staff members with an outdoor party at the Obama’s oceanfront estate in Martha’s Vineyard, this bash is most-definitely going to be the most buzz-worthy social soiree of the season. No official guest list has been revealed, so far, leaving those big-name attendees such as Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, Samuel L. Jackson, and more as rumored to partake in the festivities. 

In lieu of gifts, the Obamas are encouraging charitable donations because what do you get the man who possibly has everything already?

To join in on the celebration, EBONY decided to take a page out of Obama’s playbook, and highlight his most-loved and eclectic music choices from past playlists

Happy Birthday, Barack Obama, and we welcome you to enjoy these 10 songs the former leader of the free world has in rotation to get a party started!

“Another Star” by Stevie Wonder 

Chosen by former president Barack Obama in his inaugural 2015 White House x Spotify playlist, this Stevie Wonder classic has the right mix of bounce, sing-along, and flavor to get anyone on their feet and ready to boogie. If you’re lucky to be in the mix for Obama’s 60th b’day, then you shouldn’t hesitate to cut a rug to this one.


“Classic Man” by Jidenna feat. Kendrick Lamar

Nothing can be more swag-surf-inducing than Jidenna’s instant-hit, “Classic Man,” the remix which featured Obama’s favorite rapper from 2016, Kendrick Lamar. With a host of A-list celebrities, close friends, family, and former staff members attending Martha’s Vineyard, this song is the perfect one to have on while showing off your haute couture.

“U Got The Look” by Prince

Another must-have joint from Barry’s 2016 favorites list, “U Got The Look” is still a “heck-a-slammin’” number to burn up the dance floor thanks to Sheila E.’s live percussion and Sheena Easton’s vocals. As we all celebrate Obama’s 60th birthday, this is a “World Series of love”-type of track that he and Michelle can get down to.

“Ekombe” by Jupiter & Okwess International

Included in this list with the implicit instructions to dance and keep moving, the Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo band’s 2018 jam may find Obama going viral for hitting the Ndombolo one good time. Chosen by the former president in that same year, “Ekombe” is a guaranteed bop that will get you up and active like you were in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.

“Wild Thoughts” by DJ Khaled feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller

Ramping up the couples’ dance portion of the party, “Wild Thoughts,” with its Carlos Santana sample and hip-sway-inducing melodies, was a 2017 selection from Barack Obama’s summer playlist—and still a forever vibe if there was one. As mentioned above, the guest list is being kept on the hush, but you can imagine when this one floods out the speaker that it’ll be hard to keep anyone from getting their DJ Khaled on.

“Savage” (Remix) by Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé

With 2020 turning out to be a year where we all spent it mostly at home, Barack Obama revealed that the H-Town collabo between Megan and Beyoncé was in heavy rotation with him and his family. Making his pandemic-powered playlist in the same year as the song’s release, “Savage” (Remix) is a cool number to play at his power shindig.

“Juice” by Lizzo

A semi-cool-down cut, “Juice” is for when the drinks are flowing, the conversations are going, and Barry is in the corner getting love from the missus. Picked for his 2019 Spotify playlist, Lizzo’s funk-heavy rap with an 80’s-inspired melody is a near-perfect feel-good song that is perfectly in-sync with his birthday celebration. 

“Rock Steady” by Aretha Franklin

Continuing the funky winning streak, this Aretha Franklin staple made Barack Obama’s inaugural favorite’s list in 2015, and will always be a forever classic on dance floors from sea to shining sea. The former POTUS was only 11 when “Rock Steady” came out, and surely you can imagine him hitting some Soul Train-esque moves at his oceanfront Martha’s Vineyard estate that will have Sasha and Malia’s TikTok pages lit.

“Essence” by WizKid feat. Tems

It’s no secret that this song is obsess-worthy, as WizKid and Tems cooked up an instant-classic with this sensual number from the former’s Made in Lagos album. Picked for his 2020 favorite’s playlist series, Obama had to consult his daughter Sasha to include this one, which may result in a happy father-daughter birthday dance to celebrate his 60th revolution around the sun.

“Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic

It seems Barack Obama is also eagerly waiting on that Silk Sonic album. The first single from the Bruno Mars-Anderson .Paak collab, “Leave the Door Open,” which made the former president’s 2021 summer playlist, is a perfect end-of-the-night number to play to put a bow on a perfectly (and hopefully fully vaccinated) night with family and friends.

Kevin L. Clark is an editor and screenwriter who covers the intersection of music, pop culture and social justice. Follow him @KevitoClark.

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