Sure, he may have called him a “jackass” in 2009, but that doesn’t mean President Obama overlooks Yeezy’s aptitude. Still, if he had to pick between him and his Thronemate, the president says he’d have to go with Hov.

“Kanye or Jay-Z?” The president smiles. “Jay-Z,” he says, as if the answer should be obvious.

“Although I like Kanye,” The President continues, with an easy smile. “He’s a Chicago guy. Smart. He’s very talented.” He is displaying his larger awareness of the question, looking relaxed, cerebral but friendly, alive to the moment, waiting for me to get to the heart of the matter.

“Even though you called him a jackass?” I ask. “He is a jackass,” President Obama says, in his likable and perfectly balanced modern-professorial voice. “But he’s talented.”