Common reaffirms realness required to be hip-hop

He’s not named Common Sense for nothing.

The legendary Chicago MC (and all around entertainer) recently sat down with the Breakfast Club and pointed out that in order to achieve his type of longevity in the rap game, one must have a sense of realness about them.

“The artists that I’ve seen evolve, they evolved as human beings and you see that coming out through they music,” said Common. “So me, I was always like ‘okay well now I’m talking about God and Islam; then I’m gonna talk about it. Now I’m talking about love; I’m gonna talk about it no matter how ridiculed I get or you know, what people think of it,’ I just felt like I need to stand in my presence and stand in my truth.”

Having been in the game for over twenty years, Common has become one of hip-hop’s older heads who can provide wisdom for the up and comers looking to make a lasting impression on the rap world.

With that experience, he believes that authenticity plays a key role in whether or not a rapper will be able to sustain.

“To me that can help build a career,” said the Cocaine80s member. “You know you got to have talent, you got to have faith and all the other things that align with it, but if you stand where you truly are I think you can evolve and grow and be that artist that has a career.”

That sentiment is further solidified by Common’s upbringing in the rugged city of Chicago, where he witnessed firsthand that real, does indeed, recognize real.

“I had some of the wildest homies and no matter what, when they seen me on my deen they like ‘ah alright do your thing,’” he said.

“My mother she made me go to computer class. I didn’t want to, I’m ready to hang out but all those things helped me do something to stay at least on a good enough path. I was out there hanging out a little bit, but I knew not to go too far…because I had something to dream about, something to achieve.”

Knowing how to discipline himself to avoid getting caught up in hood antics would prove to be a valuable trait to develop, as one of Chi Town’s finest entertainers still uses it to ensure his private life is kept private.

“I do social media to talk about things that I’m doing in music and in art,” said Common. “My personal life ain’t gon really be all over social media because I’m not trying to put my personal life for people to judge or like it or whatever. This is me, this is how I live. I don’t need your approval for what I do.”

Being genuine can come in many forms, and one of those can be the lasting impression you leave on this world when given an audience. For the hip-hop world’s Common Sense, he’s trying to ensure he wisely makes use of his time on Earth.

“My responsibility is to speak the words of God, to activate and inspire people through the art and through being an activist. As long as there’s people that’s hurting out there or there’s inequalities out there, my responsibility is to speak up and be active towards changing that situation.”

As always, an interview with Common is worth watching. He discusses his appreciation of conscious hip-hop making a return, why he’s happy to see rap standing up for itself lately amidst the racially tense news stories making the rounds, how lyricism is making a comeback in hip-hop and more in the full interview which can be seen below.