"Sweet VS. Sense"
Common and the Drake Beef - Cash In or Cop Out?
Common "Can I Borrow a Dollar" 1992
Common came out at the beginning of the 90's in the Early 90's Timbo Era Chorus Rap. He like many MC's of the time MCed in a style that was popular at the time sometimes called the "Diggedy-Diggedy Style", a Fast Rap style that many in the UK claimed was bitten off the UK Dancehall Sound System MC's, artists like Demon Boyz, Daddy Freddy, and London Posse's Bionic to name but a few.
Sipho R.I.P. & Bionic M.C. (London Posse) 1986 interview & live set
Bionic Breaks down the "Reggae Rap Style"
Common, then known as Common Sense (shortened to Common due to a Copyright litigation), was one of the only Chicago Hip-Hop artists to really break out of that cities big and slept-on Hip-Hop scene. His 1st Album "Can I Borrow a Dollar" made a lot of noise on the Underground, with was Production by No ID., The Beatnuts and included lots interesting Sample flips and Scratching. The Beatnuts at the time had just blown up onto the Underground scene and the fact that they were involved in the project bode well for the Chi-Town rapper. Producer No ID. another Chicago Native, got a lot of attention as well, and became a artist in his own right in 1997 he released Accept Your Own and Be Yourself (The Black Album).
No ID., sometimes called "The Godfather Of Chicago Hip-Hop", like the Chicago scene in general has never really gotten the props he deserves, mentoring a young Kanye West, and many artists from that city. In around 2005, he produced a very Underground diss record aimed at Common, with the general theme that he had left the city and forgotten his roots. They have since re-united and No ID. and produces for many of Rap's biggest stars Killer Mike, Rick Ross, Drake Jay-Z and more.
Common "Ressurection" 1996
DJ Sinister X-Men/X-ecutioners on the cuts!
In 1994, Common released his much more noticed second album "Ressurection", the song "I Used to Love H.E.R." encapsulated the feeling among the Hip-Hop community that the culture had lost its way and had been co-opted, degraded and become "Hollywood". Around that time he also released "The Bitch In Yoo", a firing Diss against one of Raps Icons Ice Cube. It was a brave and interesting choice, as Ice Cube was not your typical Gangsta Rapper, a fierce MC in his own right, many claimed that he wrote most of his ex-Crew N.W.A.'s lyrics, and was the face man for the genre as a whole.
More in depth info on the Common VS. Ice Cube Beef can be found here
B-Boy VS. G-Boy
Ice Cube at the time was a proponent of the Nation Of Islam, and Common, as the title of the album suggests, became "Ressurected" within "The Lost and Found Nation of Islam in North America" aka the N.O.I. The high profile shots and rivalry, was defused (like many rap Beefs) by the leader of that group Minister Louis Farrakhan. But the fact that a underground B-Boy from Chicago, had stood up for the direction of the culture, gained a lot of love for Common. But interestingly, during that period, Ice Cube was also rapping in the so-called "Diggidy-Diggidy Style" Fast Rap style at the time, few people commented on this.
Ice Cube "Wicked"
Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey), Talib Kweli & Common
In 1996, De La Soul released their legendary 4th album "Stakes Is High", the group re-assembled The Native Tongues, and appeared to have added some new members, Black Star (Mos Def, Talib Kweli &DJ Hi-Tek), Consequence and Common. For Hip-Hop purists, the move was extremely positive, not just because it was a East Coast Super Group, but it promoted the Conscious/Brotherhood aspect, in a Versace dipped industry.
Recently Common has been involved with a Beef with Drake, one of Cash Money's new roster of Regional and International Artists, including Drake (Canada), Niki Minaj (Trinidadian born/Brooklyn Native ) the U.K.'s own Jay Sean and others. Drake is a Teen actor who now Raps, his 1st album was extremely well received and has been celebrated as one of the new school's best.
Drake/Jimmy freestyling on Degrassi...
Drake "Day Care" - "Take Care" Spoof
His second album "Take Care" has come under considerable critisism from Hip-Hop fans as being "Soft" and has to much of Drake singing "Vocoder style" ballads. There has been an unprecedented slew of comedy photoshop mock ups gunning Drake for his sophomore album. But that said, commercially the album did well, a hit amongst the female album buying market, and as most industry people understand that translates into $$$$! It is officially Platinum, as of writing this.
Ludacris - Bada Boom (Big Sean & Drake Diss)Drake has had very mixed responses from traditional artists, DMX to mention but one, everybody seems to have an opinion about him. That's not to mention Beef with Toronto's Kardinal Offishall and more recently Ludacris??? But what is really going on? Is it a serious case of Band wagon jumping? Is it that Hip-Hop has been reduced to Cash fuelled 2 week beefs to sell units? The "True School" are always going to back Common (even after Electric Circus), but is it just a case of bitter old "Mad Rappers" as French Montana has said, or is it personal, or a Cash In? Common represents grown man B-Boy culture, of that there is no doubt, but Common just released a new album, then disses Drake? Is Drake an easy target? Say what you want about modern Hip-Hop, and whether you like him or not, he is popular amongst a certain demographic. Is Drake is the epitome of what is "wrong" with this culture? Perhaps to some, but surely there are bigger fish to fry?
Rick Ross - Stay Schemin' (feat. Drake &French Montana) Common Diss
Stay Schemin' Common Diss
Positive or Cop Out? A bit early? You decide.
It doesn't take a Sociology Professor to see that over-hyped average artists, amped egos, Industry fueled Beef and Money is definitely chipping away at Hip-Hop's credibility. As an upright elder in the scene, Common has had an amazing career, he is still a credible musician, and is a fully fledged actor, his history is undeniable. You only have to look at who "were" his peers when he started out, you will find few of them with a record career, let alone Hollywood career! In this era of "Twitter Beef" and "youtube Wars", many in Hip-Hop need to remember that Hip-Hop Battles are a PART of the culture, not THE Culture.
Actors Turned Rappers or Rapper Turned Actors... Choose a lane already. New School need to respect the Architects, but at the same time The Old School need to give the New School some space...