Obama Lays Down a Beat, Talks Sexism with Vietnamese “Queen of Hip Hop”


For the last day of his three-day visit to Vietnam, President Barack Obama took time at a town hall meeting in Ho Chi Minh City to challenge Vietnam’s foremost female rapper, Suboi, to freestyle in Vietnamese.

“Let’s see what you got,” he said. “Come on. Do you need a little beat?” and gave a glorious two seconds of presidential beat-boxing.

“Vietnamese or English?” she said.

“Vietnamese, of course.”

The Ho Chi Minh native spit out a few bars. “That’s pretty good,” Obama said.

Loosely translated, she said she rapped about “some people having a lot of money, having big houses, but actually are they really happy?,” she said. “And a lot of people, they look at us, and they assume or stereotype. Like me, an Asian rapper [they assume] it’s like, looking at cute girls… For Vietnamese people, they think rapping is not for women.”

“That’s true in the United States too,” Obama said. “There’s always been sexism and gender stereotypes in the music industry, like every other part of life.”

Currently, the commander-in-chief is off to Japan, and will become the first sitting American president to visit Hiroshima. It is unknown whether he’ll grab another $6 dinner with Anthony Bourdain afterward.

You can watch the exchange below: