President Obama's "Folks Wanna Pop Off" Is The Blackest Thing That Ever Happened This Week

Larry Downing-Pool/Getty Images
Larry Downing-Pool/Getty Images

During a press conference this morning, President Obama used the term "pop off" in reference to people making uninformed and patently ridiculous claims about what should be done with France and ISIS. And, unless I go outside today and witness a Sojourner Truth hologram double dutching with Marilyn Mosby, I'm very confident in declaring that the Black president dismissively referring to his haters the exact same way Loretha Lyon or Draymond Green or your barber or your best friend or you would have will be the Blackest thing that ever happened this week.


So Black, in fact, that instead of attempting to determine and assess exactly how Black it was, I'm more interested in how "folks wanna pop off" found its way into the President's lexicon. Does he possess a reservoir of culturally relevant slang terms and colloquialisms that he employs when White people aren't around? We know he code switches — we see it with every seven-step handshake, and his rendition of Amazing Grace during Rev. Clementa Pinckney's eulogy is a first-ballot entry in the Code Switch Hall of Famebut he's also a 54-year-old man who hoops in Sam's Club Nikes and tucks his shirt into his sweatpants. (No. seriously. He does.) He is, and will always be, cool in a macro sense. But, in micro sense, he, again, is a 54-year-old man who hoops in Sam's Club Nikes and tucks his shirt into his sweatpants. This is not what cool people do. Cool people do, however, reflexively use "pop off" to address haters. President Obama is a paradox.

Anyway, this leads me to believe that at least one of the following is true:

1. He heard of one his daughters using it last week. (Probably Sasha. Actually, definitely Sasha. There's no doubt it was Sasha.)

2. President Obama has a third unreleased and unshared #POTUSPlaylist that's composed of nothing but SMACK/URL rap battles, and he listens to it before any press conference where ISIS and Ben Carson's name might be brought up. And, if it would have lasted five minutes longer, he would have found a way to work "ISIS is gonna get this work" in there too.

3. We've kinda suspected it before, but President Obama genuinely gives no fucks at this point. He is fuck devoid. Fuck deficient. Fuck deprived. Fuck destitute. His cupboard of fucks is barren; his tank of fucks has been depleted. You know how, on cloudy nights, you might look up into the vast and endless sky and not find any stars? The same thing would happen if you looked at Obama and searched for fucks. And this, this total absence of fucks, is where pop off came from.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Michele Gilliam

President's "Pop Off" playlist:

Knuck if you buck
Trick Daddy "Shut Up"
C-Murder "Down for my *****"
Lil Scrappy's "No Problem"
That "If you ain't got no haters you ain't poppin is you" song
I Ain't Neva Scared
Every Lil Jon song
Every Movado song