Common: When War Meets Peace


most artist decide to dedicate 16 bars to Jacob's pricey jewels or whatever

reality lies in the street, Common reflects a more socially aware side of Hip-Hop. 


from a more organic blend and shunning conformity, The Chicago native has carved

his own niche – even if it causes critical chatter. Obviously, being

different (and very good) draws attention, but Com Sense has always managed

to handle pressure.


is now the new haven to harvest Hip-Hop talent, but even Hip-Hop's

present Golden Boy Kanye West puts his cocky swagger on hold for the hometown



have a candid conversation with this enigmatic emcee on Ice Cube to Erykah.

How did you get started rhyming?


Actually, I used to go to Cincinnati with my cousin and these cats from his

neighborhood. I was into Hip-Hop just for the break dancing, and just the way

Hip-Hop was as a culture. It was so masculine and so raw and I was feeling that

element of music. I always loved entertainment and the spot light; even if I

was shy I still wanted to be a star. Hip-Hop was my vehicle, my way, and my

vessel for me to become a star. And through Ajile, my cousin, I got into Hip-Hop.

We started writing our first raps in 7th grade. That was my inspiration

that sparked up my first rap, and through he travels I just pursued my dreams

and I am here promoting the real hip hop movement. You

are such a well-rounded artist. Even Kanye told us that you are one of he people

he admired, because you were "free." He named Andre 3000, dead

prez, and you.

Common: That

is a big complement; Kanye built his own highway and continued on his highway

of his own individuality. He really brought something pure and innocent into

this music light. University people can really get into Kanye cause he enjoyable.

You can tell the student of music and students of the game, and he a student

of music and a student of hip-hop. When you find yourself, you going be like

nobody else, cause God only created one you and if you can show that to the

world. Your individuality is going to shine and its going to set its own lane.


believe in creating my own lane. I'm definitely going to get into my own lane

if I gotta go on the shoulder and come back. I'm gonna take my way because I

never felt good being somebody else. I mean I admire other people, I mean I

always wanted to rap as good as KRS One, or Rakim, or Nas or whoever but I ain't

never want to be that person and I don't want to move like them. If I did, I

grew out of that stage. That was a stage when you kinda young.A lot of artist

ain't find their individuality.

You have been in the game for a while so you kinda matured. On AllHipHop you

and Cube's battle was regarded as one of the top 10 list for beefs.

Common: Yeah

it was fun thing to do, but at the same time I was aware cause I didn't know

where we was gonna take it. In my heart, I felt like this was Hip-Hop so I'm

gonna retaliate on a verbal level, but I don't know who ignorant cats can get.

But I felt to us like I had my guys to a point where they was just going to

stand strong and not start nothing. But we didn't know at the time that [beef in] Hip-Hop was escalating. Things escalated and got into physical confrontations

and stuff, so it was a good battle cause it stayed on wax. I released that song

and didn't even put it on the album.

How do you get in tune with your music now? A battle is easy, what's the draw


Common: For

me now, I've been drawing on the fact that I love life and I love Hip-Hop, and

I really love Hip-Hop. I go to the things that I really love about Hip-Hop and

the things that I don't like, so I go to what did inspire me and what inspires

me, and I go to the fact that I've been loving to do this and express myself

for so long. I don't let anything completely contaminate those feelings that

I got for Hip-Hop. When it does, when I get real industry influenced, I shake

it away and go into my own world so I just listen to music to inspire me. Whether

it be Marvin Gaye, Kanye, Nas or John Coldtrain, I listen to music that inspires

me. I get inspired by life. The creator give us all different gifts, different

gifts that we can work with and develop and I believe that this definitely was

a gift I needed to nurture and develop. I am still nurturing and that drives

me a lot and I know that I got a mission and I know that I got things to say

to enlighten myself and to enlighten my love ones and to enlighten the world.

I am striving to do that, striving to just make good music that cats can enjoy.

Those things drive me and I know that Hip-Hop is a vehicle for me to support

my family, but I can't live off of the love.

You and Erykah, y'all not engaged no more?




The song that you were on with Kanye and Malik Yusef "Would

You Like to Ride" each of you were talking about 3 females. Was that

female on your verse Erykah?


Nah, a lot of people consider that. The irony of that whole thing was when I

did that song which was about 2 years ago, I was going to see Erykah and we

was in a relationship like, in a love relationship. It definitely wasn't geared

towards her. If you listen to some of the details of the song even though you

can change and twist them up a little bit, the song was about a girl who was

just sitting around smoking and stuff and ain't got no paper. I wouldn't even

air out Erykah like that. I got love for her. I

got total love for Erykah, that's one of my best friends in the world. If I

had beef with anybody that I care about I would never air it out - that's my

family business. I want y'all to know that Erykah is a wonderful human being;

a wonderful sister, beautiful woman, a good person and I love her.