Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Common: Cool Rapper

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Common: Cool Rapper

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

j f ] \ n f ] k f [ Xp Q gf gl c Xi d l j 'Z' X e j are interested in creating work that says something other than "buy me." But Chicago hip-hopper Common bucks that trend with thoughtful songs on love, sexual abuse, and politics.

The depth of Common's music stems from his being a Renaissance man. He's done public service announcements to encourage HIV testing, saying, "This disease doesn't just affect a single race or sexual orientation."

Early in his career the young MC dropped epithets like a rapping bombardier. He's now denounced his past behavior in two very public forums--in the spring he promised Oprah he's through with the n word, and in September, Rolling Stone quoted him saying he's done "disrespecting homosexuality."

But it's with his music that Common's messages reach the audience that needs to hear them the most. Try not to well up at the lyrics to his song "Between Me, You & Liberation":

   He spoke with his eyes, tear-filled
   A lump in his throat, his fear built
   My whole life it was in steel
   This ain't the way that men feel
   A feeling, he said he wish he could kill
   A feeling, not even time could heel
   This is how real rite's supposed to be? … 
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