Ever since he announced his intention to run for president, Barack Obama's life has been fodder for conspiracy theorists. But the latest fringe controversy doesn't concern a secret muslim faith or a "suspicious" social security number — rather, eagle-eyed hip-hop fans claim to have spotted a youthful Obama as an extra in the 1993 video for Tag Team's "Whoomp! (There It Is)," a heavily played dance track of the era. At the 1:01 point of the video, "Obama" can be seen in full gangsta stylings, with a Compton baseball cap, gold jewelry, and an early cellphone pressed to his ear. When the video was shot, Obama was a 32-year-old recent graduate of Harvard Law School, and had just moved to Chicago. It might be the future president, suggests The Improper. His role as a community organizer "could have exposed him to some hip, happening dudes that might have landed him in a hip-hop video." Sorry, but it's not him, says Adrian Chen at Gawker. Tag Team is from Atlanta, not Chicago. Also, those gold earrings? "Obama is cool, but not that cool." Decide for yourself:
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
Was Obama in a 1993 hip-hop video?
June 7, 2010
[UPDATE: After investigating, PolitiFact reports: "Finally, the White House put the issue to rest. Spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield declared the rumors untrue. "It is not him," she said. So alas, that's not the leader of the free world with the wayfarers and the three-pound cell phone."]
of The Week magazine.