Common

 Uncategorized
Apr 182007
 
Authors: Marissa HuttonGavel

During his visit to campus the Chicago native, MC, actor, writer and fashion designer spoke to student media about his views on hip-hop and what it means to be a real MC.

Collegian: Don Imus has brought a lot of controversy to the hip-hop world as far as vernacular goes. Do you think hip-hop is to blame for the mainstream use of words like “ho” and “bitch” being attributed to women, especially black women?

Common:

I definitely know that hip-hop is a subculture of American culture, so to look at the demeaning of black women as it’s gotten to hip-hop would be injustice because the demeaning of black women started once black people reached the shores of America. It’s important that we understand that it’s a lot of pain that has come from past years. Not just black people. It’s come from white pain, too. This is an issue that we want to correct. When we deal with a problem we first acknowledge the past, then deal with the wounds.

KCSU: What do you feel about gangsta rap?

Common:

Each person got to be able to express who they are, and if that’s their experiences then they definitely should be able to tell that. But also use their imaginations, too. Artists got to start looking to the sky more. But we also as a people got to allow them to grow, too.

Collegian:

A lot of people accuse white people who love hip-hop of not being who they’re supposed to be, or “trying to be black.” What do you think?

Common:

It never would be limited to a race, it began with the black and Latino culture and people, but since the early days you had groups and people that enjoy people from the white perspective and it eventually went on to reach the Asian perspective and it’s just always been about a bridge.

Collegian:

You spoke on the transformation of hip-hop in your song, “Used to Love Her.” Where do you see hip-hop in 10 years?

Common:

I hope that it would just continue to grow and continue to draw up a balance. hip-hop is such a representation of life that life is not one thing so I think hip-hop definitely deserves to be expressing all sides of it, too. and I would be grateful to see the music continue to grow and just be creative and continue to get a broader audience.

Collegian:

So you don’t think hip-hop is dead?

Common:

No, I don’t think it’s dead, but I respect what Nas was saying…Nas is really just saying more or less that the elements of hip-hop that we knew, like we not respecting it, we not projecting it, it’s not coming out. We need that.

Collegian: Jay-Z has said that he would rhyme like you, but he’s not going to get paid like that. Has it been hard for you to stay true to yourself and your style while still maintaining a business mind and appealing to a mass audience?

Common:

It’s not hard because I believe in what I say and I feel like I got a duty to God to speak truth and to reach humanity and within that I don’t have it in me to just chase paper. I can’t put paper before what I believe in or integrity or creativity. I feel the money will come when it’s supposed to.

KCSU: Do you think Common’s going to be the greatest rapper ever?

Common:

I’m never complacent, never content. My music has developed. I got even more of a purpose, along with being one of the greatest emcees that I strive to be, I also want to put out some love in the music and put out a message of upliftment, but at the same time I want it to be real and true and fun and authentic to what people relate to. Along with being one the greatest I want to be a messenger.

KCSU: Being a messenger, do you feel you’ve completed your job yet?

Common:

I definitely feel it’s a long way to go. More and more people need to hear the music and become aware of it. and hear the different sides of hip-hop, too. The world actually probably sees one side of hip-hop because that’s all the vehicles that put hip-hop out have allowed.

KCSU: What do feel about the new way of gangsta rap?

Common:

Each person got to be able to express who they are, and if that’s their experiences then they definitely should be able to tell that. But also use their imaginations too. Artists got to start looking to the sky more. But we also as a people got to allow them to grow, too.

Collegian:

If you had to break it down for someone who doesn’t know anything about it, what would you say the fundamentals of hip-hop are?

Common:

It’s an art, an expression. and it’s also about style and the way you speak and the way you carry yourself. It’s a subculture of America that developed from the struggle of a people and then it’s gone on to expand and include people all around the world. It’s a voice of the youth.

Campus editor Marissa Hutton-Gavel can be reached at verve@collegian.com. KCSU DJ Miss Peach (Carmen Verdum) and co-host Chase Weber contributed to this story.

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