Michelle Obama raps with Jay Pharoah in college video

(Washington) -- She has won plaudits for her smarts and style, even her funk dancing skills, but Michelle Obama was less known as a rapper -- until now.

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The American first lady and Harvard Law School graduate throws down some rhymes in a tongue-in-cheek music video released Thursday to encourage kids to go to university.

Co-starring actor Jay Pharoah -- known for his uncanny impersonation of Barack Obama -- the video shows the pair dancing at the White House and rapping into a studio mic.

"If you wanna fly jets you should go to college/ Reach high and cash checks, fill your head with knowledge," they riff in tandem.

Produced for the student site College Humor, the video is part of a drive called "Better Make Room" which aims to reverse falling US college graduation rates.

"South Side Chicago, we all know/ We had to do overtime every night to make it to tomorrow," raps Obama -- who grew up in the city's south.

"And everyone could really make their dream come true/ Hey kid listening in Michigan, this could be you."

During her time in the White House Obama has championed a string of initiatives to promote healthy eating, education for girls and help for military families.

She wowed crowds earlier this year with an impressive "Uptown Funk" dance routine, performed during the traditional Easter Egg hunt at the White House in support of her campaign for healthier lifestyles.

Fans took to social media to praise Obama's "dope" rap skills, others saw the funny side -- while a few suggested her teenage daughters Sasha and Malia might be a touch embarrassed.

Twitter users took turns conjuring up rap lyrics -- also known as bars -- for the first lady under the hashtag #FLOTUSbars.

The hashtag was a play on #PopeBars which went viral last month in response to a photo of Pope Francis in which he seemed to strike a rapper's pose.



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