Although she wasn’t pleased about her poem being placed at the end of a song that included the N-word, rapper Common said he and poet Maya Angelou aren’t at odds over it.
“I asked her to do a poem on the album, The Dreamer/The Believer. She did a poem about dreaming. I put it at the end of a song that had the N-word. She don’t approve of that word. It was never no like, ‘I’m mad at you.’ She’s like a mother,” Common told the DJs over at New York’s Power 105.1
“Even if she got something that she don’t approve of me, she gonna let me know and we gonna keep it moving. She’s happy she’s on the album. I’m happy she’s on the album. They can’t create dissention amongst us,” said Common, who defended his decision to put Maya’s poem where he did on the album.
“I put an interlude in between her and then put her at the end of it,” he said, while hoping fans won’t be distracted from the music just because of that one term.
“It’s bigger than just using the N-word. It’s some good music, it’s uplifting, and what she’s saying is uplifting. We have to get past what this word is,” said Common, who admits that he’s thought about not using the word anymore.
“It makes me think about it, but at the end of the day it’s my way of expressing. That’s what hip-hop has always been. We get to express ourselves. When I talk about ‘Sweet’, I’m just expressing what I feel about hip-hop,” he explained, in reference to a song on his album that was considered a diss to rapper Drake.
“’I’m Sweet’ is hip-hop. The song basically is me rapping, talking about how dope I am, but then on the breaks, I’m talking like dudes soft singing, la, la, la, Frank Sinatra, la, la, la.
“Drake felt offended by it, and he said something about it the other day, but I’m really keeping it on some hip-hop stuff,” he said, without admitting that the song was targeted toward Drake.
Although Common has been busy with acting and writing, he said he’s still focused on making great music, and his long-awaited collabo with Nas, tentatively titled Nas.Com, is his next music project.
The fact that he has other sources of income just means that he doesn’t have to rely on record sales and can just make the type of music he loves.
“I’m having more fun with the music. I can make real hip-hop the way I love it. I love the art. I love the music. I love the culture,” he said.
Common also loves himself some women, and he definitely wants to tie the knot one day.
“I was engaged to Erykah at one point. That was the closest I got to getting married,” he said. “It would be good to settle down and be in a marriage. “
Watch more of the interview here.
—Tracy L. Scott