Reggae Icon Toots & the Maytals Make Obama’s Summer 2023 Playlist

Legendary reggae outfit Toots & the Maytals has found its way onto former U.S. President Barack Obama’s annual summer playlist with the iconic track, “Funky Kingston.” The song, a title track from the band’s 1973 album, sits proudly among the 41 songs Obama has been listening to during the summer of 2023.

The former President, known for his eclectic taste in music, announced the list on Twitter on Thursday, July 20. Alongside the classics, the compilation also features a mix of contemporary chart-toppers, showing Obama’s knack for balancing time-honored tracks with the freshest sounds of today.

“Like I do every year, here are some songs I’ve been listening to this summer — a mix of old and new,” Obama wrote in the caption accompanying the image of the playlist. He then invited his followers to share their own summer tracks, adding, “Look forward to hearing what I’ve missed.”

The inclusion of “Funky Kingston” in the playlist highlights the enduring appeal of Toots & the Maytals and their impact on global music culture. The band, known for popularizing the term ‘reggae’ and revolutionizing the genre, brings an authentic Jamaican flavor to Obama’s summer vibes.

The Caribbean influence doesn’t end there, though. Janelle Monaé’s “Only Have Eyes 42,” a track from her new album that heavily samples Jamaican singer Derrick Harriott’s 1967 song, “The Loser,” also made the cut.

Modern hits aren’t left out in Obama’s playlist, with the former President showing his finger remains firmly on the pulse of contemporary music. Included in the list are songs from rising and established stars such as Jorja Smith’s “Try Me,” Ice Spice & Nicki Minaj’s “Princess Diana,” Afrobeats artist Burna Boy & rapper 21 Savage’s “Sittin On Top Of The World,” and SZA’s “Snooze.”

Obama’s annual summer playlist provides a glimpse into his personal and diverse taste in music, ranging from reggae to pop, hip-hop, and afrobeats. The inclusion of a reggae classic like “Funky Kingston” is not only a nod to the enduring impact of Toots & the Maytals, but also a testament to the timeless allure of good music, regardless of the genre or era. The track list is a testament to Obama’s ability to appreciate both classic and contemporary sounds, further establishing his image as a true music aficionado