EXCLUSIVE: Chi Town’s Common Speaks On Freedom, Battling vs. Beef and Frank Ocean

Footage by ICF Entertainment (@foreverahustla)

His name might be Common, but there’s very little ordinary about him.

The Chicago MC has been a mainstay in the rap industry for over 15 years, but he’s also an actor, a spokesman, and if his longevity is any indication, he’s an extraordinary man. spent some quality time with Common backstage at yesterday’s (July 4) “Welcome America” Independence Day concert in Philadelphia, as he was readying to join industry pals, The Roots and Queen Latifah, onstage for a star-spangled celebration.

Ever the charmer with the words, Common spoke eloquently on the “freedom” he enjoys most (and it’s not his current single status), and he also relayed the message that “being you” is job number one, a point not lost in light of the recent “coming out” of singer Frank Ocean.

Common was also stoked to be in the presence of his peers – including a special surprise guest that didn’t know about beforehand, but he spilled the beans on.

And, he was kind enough not to pummel his peers from the past – namely a certain sweater-wearing, bottle-brawling Canadian whom he had words with just months ago. Since that time, the heat has intensified between crews, but ever the gentleman, Common advises that beef is always best kept in the booth.

Check out’s exclusive, Fourth of July interview with the incomparable Common, where he talks freedom:

Follow Common on Twitter (@Common).

RELATED: Read more on Philadelphia’s Fourth of July “Welcome America” celebration.

  • I respect Common more then I do most “rappers”.

  • churchboy2

    Common is that dude, but he seems to have stepped back from his Nag Champa viewpoint:

    It’s rumors of gay MC’s, just don’t come around me wit itYou still rockin hickies, don’t let me find out he did it

    • Actually I read up somewhere he had regrets about that verse a couple years later, b/c he had a friend (or relative… can’t remember) to come out the closet & he felt guilty for his stance.  He rapped about it on Electric Circus. (You, Me & Liberation.)

      • CaliTransplant

        Nag Champa is one of the hardest on his dopest album, Like Water For Chocolate. It’s my favorite hip hop album of all time. But, with me being gay, I always cringed at that lyric and another one where he says ‘a circus of faggots, your names mentioned’ (i actually always thought he was gettin at Diddy) on Doonit.

        Later on, in an interview he explained that after his cousin came out to him, it changed his viewpoint on homosexuality.

        Kanye had the same thing happen to him. He was actually one of the first rappers to speak out against homophobia.

  • $11625525

    I always thought that lyric was him saying “don’t accuse me of being gay” or “I ain’t interested in who’s gay” so don’t bring that talk around me, but if it’s him saying don’t come around me if you are gay, then that’s his prerogative and people are allowed to change. I have worked with and know plenty gay people, and my viewpoint on they lifestyle hasn’t completely changed over the years as I have moved from the place where I thought I needed to understand it to accept it, to a place where I believe in living and letting live.

    Life’s too short to fight everything which goes against your beliefs, so I deal with things like this; if you don’t owe me money, and are not interfering with me then live your life.

    As for the previous comments, “Nag Champa” is definitely one of the best hip hop tracks ever made, Common and J Dilla created a masterpiece!

  • WillVetterGoodin

    if cb doesnt fight drake…..Common will literally kill him with his bare hands, dude can fight.

  • rep87

    Common is a real genuine dude , Fu%K drake period and that soft batch azz crew he roll with

  • Fedupwss

    I don’t care what you say, You don’t see straigt people having a stickly d@#kly parade or I’m with P@#$y debate.  Such is life you don’t have to like me and I don’t have to like you. I feel like i’m being held hostage by a bunch of fruits. Please lgbt get over yourself I wear my black skin like a badge and people still are racist. Just think a least you weren’t sold or tortured ya big sissy’s.

  • Only another gay, will care about some one being gay IMHO.

    Gay rapper?  Can he rap?

    It’s not like I’ll turn off a dope track because the artist is gay, & then replace it with some doo doo butter track from a str8 artist!