The 25 Best and Blackest Things About Chance the Rapper’s ‘Come Back, Barack’ Video on Saturday Night Live

NBC via YouTube screenshot
NBC via YouTube screenshot

1. The name of the group: De-Von-Tré. This is such a great and appropriate ’90s R&B name that I’m shocked it was available. Kinda like when you meet someone whose Twitter handle is @John and you think, “How the fuck did you get John?”

2. The very first shot of the video, of Chris Redd lying in a bed with sunglasses and cheetah comforters. Which I’m 1,000 percent sure is exactly what Ray J is doing right now.

3. The oversized linen pantsuits. There should be a store that lets you rent out ’90s fashions for events, kinda like Rent the Runway. Could even call it Ginuwine’s Closet.


4. Chance’s “woooowhooo” at the 10-second mark. That was a top-notch “woooowhooo.” Wanya Morris would be proud.

5. Kenan’s cane.

6. The first beg at the 40-second mark. Do R&B niggas still beg in songs today? I don’t listen to new music much. This woman in the coffeeshop yesterday said I look like Khalid. I was like, “Who?” And she was like, “The ‘Location’ guy.” And I was like, “What?” And she was like, “Never mind.”

Anyway, do R&B niggas still beg in songs today?

7. The 200 candles at the 50-second mark. “Bath and Body Works” is Swahili for “’90s R&B nigga video props.”


8. The “Come Back, Barack” reveal at the 55-second mark, a perfect placement for the punch line. We were teased long enough.

9. The framed picture of President Barack Obama in Chance’s hands. One of my goals as a teen was to date a girl fine enough to be a framed picture in an R&B video.


10. Kenan’s voice-over.

11. Kenan’s voice-over reveal that they lit the 200 candles.

12. “Things are looking bad. Like really bad. Like World War bad. Like nuclear bad.”


13. Around the 1:25 mark starts my favorite recurring part of ’80s and ’90s R&B. It’s when the crooners stop saying “song words” and just start having an actual conversation. “I remember that time. We went to the store. And bought some Smores. And then weeeeent back home to eat them!”

14. “I’m in hell ... dreaming about you and Michelle!”

15. The single teardrop.

16. The single teardrop transitioning to the perfunctory shot in the rain. Perhaps this is why none of the most popular ’90s R&B acts are still relevant today. They’re all battling pneumonia from spending so much time in downpours.


17. The subtle “Come on, man. We out in the rain” at the 1:50 mark.

18. The less subtle but even funnier “It’s definitely too cold to be rained on” at 1:55.


19. A clearly frustrated Chance’s “I know you busy with that library and everything.” This, by the way, is usually the point of the song where the begging starts to turn into actual demands.

20. “Trump don’t even got a dog, man.”

21. At 2:03, Kenan does his best Michael McCary impression. There needs to be more deep-voiced niggas in music. What happened to the deep-voiced nigga? Everyone now sounds like a Molly-addicted Elmo with laryngitis.


22. “So I’m just getting rained on for nothing?”

23. Kenan’s “Enjoy your retirement, homey” while hurling some flowers at a wall. There were mad flowers hurled at walls in ’80s and ’90s videos. So many that I thought for a while that it was just how you got rid of them when they die.


24. “Maybe Michelle could run. Naw, let’s not put Michelle through that.”

25. The über-masculine and beggerific “I’LL VOTE FOR JOE BIDEN!” This, by the way, is usually the point in the ’90s R&B song when the demands turn into thinly veiled threats. Perhaps it’s a good thing that the R&B group is obsolete. Not sure that music made up of deep-voiced-ass niggas threatening women to pick up the phone would play well on Twitter.

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)

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Is it wrong for me to wish this was a real song? We, The People, miss Barack Obama!