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Chance The Rapper and Saturday Night Live make the musical plea, “Come Back, Barack”

Saturday Night Live (Screenshot: NBC)

On his well-received hosting stint on last night’s Saturday Night Live, Chance The Rapper—while not tapped as the musical guest as well, for some reason—nonetheless teamed up with Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd for a spot-on recreation of a smooth ’90s R&B ode to a lost love. “You were so intelligent, you were so strong, I waited my whole life for you,” croons Redd, before the trio reveal that their lost love is former President Barack Obama.

Thompson and Chance had teamed up for a similarly affectionate paean to Obama back when the rapper was the musical guest last year. Here, trading their Run-D.M.C. track suits for the gloriously snappy white numbers of soul groups past (think Jodeci), the pair and Redd gradually reveal the desperation behind their longing. “We didn’t know just what we had,” the group sings in harmony, “Now things are looking bad. Like really bad, like world war bad, like nuclear bad.” As the song goes on, the three forlorn singers admit that they’re aware that two-termer Obama can’t actually run again, and that he can’t come back “because that would undermine the very institutions that we’re barely holding onto as it is.” Still, a smooth 90s groove is about longing, not logic, even as Thompson—in his spoken-word mid-song breakdown—admits that asking former First Lady Michelle to run can’t ease the pain of Trump’s America. “Naw, let’s not put Michelle through that,” he concedes, as the group bemoans Barack’s exorbitant speaking fees that keep them from him. He’s moved on, guys.


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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.