Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Pop Culture

Common Called You a B*tch And All You Did Was Smile

"Hey b*tch, let me treat you like the queen you are."

Let me start this off by saying that I’m a fan of Common. Or at least I’m not NOT a fan. But I’ve made some observations that I’d like to understand better.

See, Common likes to call women b*tches. And he does it with great aplomb. Yet, he’s seen his cache amongst women rise astronomically.

Hi. My name is Panama Jackson and I’m confused.

It’s interesting if you think about it. Common used to rail against being called a conscious rapper and then finally accepted the role and relished in it. He released a bunch of albums that were critically acclaimed that had fair to middling substantive subject matter but for some reason or another we place him in the realm of deep and throught-provoking. Okay. No problem with that. I prefer Common Sense, the rapper who would call out any and everybody for their f*ckery but the man’s gotta eat. In fact, the last time I truly felt Common as a rapper was on The Roots Things Fall Apart album on the song “Act Too (Love of My Life)”, one of my favorite hip-hop songs ever. Since then he’s more or less been a non-factor as a rapper. You may like him, but his verses don’t lack much punch or pizzazz. Hell, the most memorable thing about Common’s current career is the music he’s rapping over, not him. In fact, I’m confused as to who he thinks he is as a rapper.

Even more simply, the ONLY verse I really remember word for word on the entire Be album belongs to Kanye. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

So what does all of this have to do with the price of a 50 Cent CD in Tijuana?

Well, being as he’s fallen off lyrically I’ve taken to paying more attention to what he’s actually saying. Odd future. I know. And two things have stood out to me:

1. He actually borders on terrible rapper at times. His recent verse on the Cocaine 80s song “Six Feet Over” where he says “I liked her like a simile…” kilt me dead. I imagine that line alone would garner any other trap rapper a “Worst Verse Alive” nod. But Common got a pass. Fair enough, the man’s put in work. Everybody has an off day. And even on his off days he at least is a decent wordsmith. But Rick Ross is more compelling. Yeah, marinate on that.

And I don’t care what anybody says, “Sweet” is not a dope track AND he sounds like a f*cking idiot with that tough guy talk at the end. It doesn’t even remotely sound believable. In fact, it also sounds completely antithetical to this person Common’s made himself out to be. You know, the ninja busting out the dope poetry at the motherf*cking White House for the Obamas.

Which brings me to the interesting second thing…

2. Common kind of talks about women like your run of the mill ignant ninja.

I remember the first time I noticed it, I was kind of taken aback. It was on “They Say” from the Be album. “…Com, I make righteous b*tches get low…”

Hmm. Then on “Make Her Say” on Cudi’s first album (he’s got a thing for songs where he’s got to “say” sh*t), he tells women to jump up on his “conscious d*ck”. Not exactly calling women b*tches there, but it’s similarly telling. I honestly feel like he could walk up to a woman and say that to her face and she’d think it was cute. It’s like the stalker thing…it ain’t stalking if you like him.

Then I’m listening to his latest album The Dreamer/The Believer (I think the split album title was kind of boofa) and I’m randomly listening to some songs and there this ninja goes AGAIN calling women b*tches.

Now, I believe in letting a grown man cook. Common is free to do his thing, but again, I’ve noticed that women absolutely adore this man. Or it seems like they do. Correct me if I’m wrong but Common has become a sex symbol. And that is par the course for many rappers. Women love T.I. But if T.I. called you a b*tch I don’t think anybody would bat an eye. However, Common is kind of supposed to be “enlightened” or some sh*t right? A thinking man’s rapper.

One who actually reads books and possibly listens to books on tape in the car. He’s the rapper women can listen to and love.

I remember telling one of my homegirls that Common was throwing the b-word recklessly on a song. She refused to believe it. I even played it for her and she justified it saying that he was just a rapper using his poetic license.

Whaaaaaaaaaa? So is Tyga on “Rack City” and short of strippers I can’t imagine any woman would actually listen to that on purpose.

Maybe its the acting roles. Maybe its the suits. Put a ninja in a tailored suit and women lose their damn minds. Maybe its because he smiles a lot and women view that as sincerity. Or probably more accurately, women just don’t listen to Common like that. They like looking at him but ain’t nobody but rap heads buying his albums. And men don’t care because, well, we ignant.

Maybe its my own fault too. I expect more out of the pseudo-deep rappers that really aren’t that deep. They like to call women b*tches because they hate feeling like they can’t. Word to Talib.

But I’m curious, why fore come Common can call women b*tches repeatedly and make fairly incendiary comments about women in song and still have his profile increase? Why no backlash?

Why don’t women care that Common is as ignant as any other rapper?

Talk to me.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Check out Champ’s latest column at Madame Noire: Freshman Woes and Possessive Types

For the DC folks, don’t forget about Reminisce tomorrow night, Sat, January 7 at Liv Nightclub. Come party with Panama to old school hip-hop and r&b and get your groove on. Free entry before 11pm ($10 after), open bar from 10-11pm, and no dress code. Get yo’ life right, thugsta and hang with the kid: http://www.facebook.com/events/227693073973581/

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Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • http://purplelikerawr.tumblr.com Purplenat

    Number 2 describes part of my huge issue with Wale. It’s pandering, thinly veiled, and yet a lot of women don’t even begin to see it (If “I acknowledge your effort” in a song isn’t patronizing and bad writing, I don’t know what is).

    Not to mention I was done with Common at “Real rappers is hard to find, like a remote”… After Talib’s verse? Absolutely not, sir. Absolutely not. I used to call Common the most overrated underrated rapper… Now I just feel like he’s overrated.

    • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan

      I actually liked Common’s verse on Get Em High but i agree with everything u said especially with the Wale…i wish i could just tell a chick “fear what you dont know” n be coo

      • Kidsister

        Love, love, love Common’s verse on Get ‘Em High :-)

      • A Woman’s Eyes

        Oh yes I LOVE that too.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        that’s cuz that was old Common on that song. he was still ridin’ ’round and gettin’ it

    • Kidsister

      My thought behind “I acknowledge your effort” is he’s appreciating the time and effort it took for her to glam up. I don’t care who it is, be it Beyonce or your average chick, that ish takes time. I don’t see that as a backhanded compliment.

      • xLadyTx

        +1

      • http://purplelikerawr.tumblr.com Purplenat

        I mean he says as much in the song… To me it’s just lazy writing, and there are better (and more genuine) ways to say “I acknowledge your effort” than saying… I acknowledge your effort. Like, if someone just says that to me it feels like a (lazy) pat on the back… I donno. Maybe I expect too much show not tell out of rappers. Then again he tries to play the part of rapper/poet, so no, he definitely needs to do better (or stop taking himself so seriously in terms of the woman-loving poet image he’s trying so hard to keep up). It’s not as much backhanded as lazy–I don’t think he’s trying to be insulting with the line or anything. It’s just bleh.

    • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

      As a poet/hip-hop head/Chicagoan my opinion might be biased, but Com’s verse on Get Em’ High was raw as ever.

  • http://panamaenrique.wordpress.com Malik

    Common is dope. F*ck is wrong with you?

    • http://wewereninjas.wordpress.com Jay

      Until “BE” I did not even f*ck with Com. Be is a certified classic, but thats due in part (at least 50%) to the production of Mr. West in his prime. Heads used to give me MAAADDD gas face when I, conscious hip hop head that I am, said that I didn’t like Common. He’s got a high pedigree though. I think his whole brand, his concepts, and what he stands for is more potent this his lyricism. I think the same thing about Tupac. People say Pac was the greatest rapper ever… he wasn’t. He was the most charismatic. I see Common like that for conscious hip hop. He is the essence of conscious hip hop. He is a good poster child for it… he’s well-spoken, good-looking, intelligent, plus he’s actor so he crosses over easily. He’s never been that dope of an MC though IMHO.

      • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan

        Same with DMX….X used to spit some #strugglebars but it was just the energy that made you pay attention. Common has always been like the Coke Zero of conscious rap, they can try and market it like he’s Talib or Mos but its clearly lacking something.

      • Rewind

        Everyone has their preferences. He was dope way before BE but I know damn well BE was my first Common album. I think it’s the state of the mind of the listener. Who I am now and how much I care about lyrics is waaaay different to who I was in the 90s, just listening for beats and catchy hooks

      • Drew

        Dude made “Resurrection”, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense” “Like Water for Chocolate”.
        Same guy who ripped Ice Cube and WC a new asshole. Don’t be fooled by the kufi and now the suits and movies. Common’s been that dude.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      i guess i don’t know my hip-hop.

      just for clarification purposes, i do think Resurrection is a classic. And so is Be. I still run Be in rotation regularly. But I also wouldn’t mind listening to it as a bunch of instrumentals. LOL. Lonnie is an afterthought. he’s in Nas territory now…he just sounds good over sh*t, what he says is irrelevant b/c its not that poignant anyway.

      • Aidger

        This whole blog is personified in the skit on Resurrection where Com goes from hollerin at a “queen” and spittin all that yang, then stops for a minute to go handle one of his hoes who ain’t getting daddy’s money right. “I don’t care if it’s snowin, I want you out there ho’in.” Always been his persona, and REALLY it’s been the theme of MUCH of so-called revolutionaries in this country for years and years. MLK, a known cheating dog. Diego Rivera, total asshole to Frida (his wife). Abbie Hoffman, cheated on his wife openly for the entire time. Could go on & on. Even the Black Panthers had a fucked up line on women, until WOMEN themselves stood up against it. I know former panthers who were ostracized for by the rest of their chapters for calling them out on their treatment of women. But who’s gonna tell you all that? Men run the world, and even revolutionary/conscious men don’t like to give up the areas of our lives where we have power…

        Oh & btw,
        How anyone could say that “Be” was even close to his best album, wow. That’s gotta be the statement of someone born in the last 20, or at least musically born in that time. That dude ain’t been hungry to write a raw rap since One Day It’ll All Make Sense. His lyrics used to be muuuuuch tighter, not just in metaphors but poetic in general, as well as delivery. Listen to Communism off Resurrection, then try to write something like that…

  • Royale W. Cheese

    Common who? Oh yeah, Erykah Badu’s boyfriend.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      ex-boyfriend.

      • http://pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

        He was definitely Badu’d.

        • AI

          He was Badid.

          • Royale W. Cheese

            He is Badone.

            • Anastasia!!!

              i am murdered by this entire thread.

              a warrant is out for yall’s arrest.

  • http://dailylovelife.wordpress.com Interlocutus

    Yeah, I don’t listen to him. . .

  • http://www.testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

    Firstly, Common is fahn. That in and of itself is a big tell in why he gets a pass with callin b*tches…b*tches. As I’m sure you’ve noted, fahn men get away with a lot more than unfortunate looking men (same goes for women too).

    Second, I’ve only heard him say it once in a verse in “The Light” -“I’d never call you my b*tch or even my boo/ There’s so much in a name and so much more to you.” But then again, I’m not gonna front like I’ve heard every Common song known to man and some primates.

    And personally, I find him talking about his righteous d*ck a little funny as it’s true; women do love a righteous, fine man and part of said man is his righteous, fine d*ck. Reminds me of a line in a verse on “So Far to Go” where he says… “Some depict me/ As being conscious/ Yeah I’ll use my head” – sh*t cracked me up.

    In any case to sum up:
    1) Women love intelligent men, as they can say the worse sh*t to you…eloquently, to the point you know you should be offended, but just can’t work up the fervor.
    2) Fine men can get it get away with a lot.
    3) Common is just like every other rapper, but our stringent belief that he isn’t seems to be working in his advantage.

    • Royale W. Cheese

      Common has B-minus-grade intelligence at best (says the bioengineer). I think people wanted him to be a conscious rapper because we needed onscious rappers at the time to validate “serious” hip-hop in the mainstream.

      He doesn’t even really look that good to me. I don’t know. He just rubs me the wrong way. There’s something artificial about him.

      His little-boy tough guy chest-beating rants as of late reduce him to a C-grade non-factor. Why do male artists always have to turn rap/hip-hop into a cliche rant podium for their insecurity rooted angst? Same old BS, different word smithing.

      • http://www.testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

        In a job force/genre where the average is of below average intelligence, Common does shine. Does that make him the best, or a beacon from the mundane, two-syllable ninjas rap keeps coming up with?

        I have to agree though, about the man-rant thing; once he came at Drake I had to pull a Big Sean (“hol’ up, hol’ up, Whoa derre!). You’re supposed to be this “above it all” dude; just cause youngster played some singles with your ex doesn’t mean he was gettin love in the bedroom…wait, is that ironic or a pun? In any case, Common, as of late, seems to be sinking into minor mediocrity. But in a genre that thrives on it…is being the best of the worse, does it really matter?

        • http://www.chikeuzoka.com chike v.

          Well put Ladies!

      • Chanelle

        Common has B-minus-grade intelligence at best

        I’ll take that lol…..honestly b- intelligence is better than most of the guys I’ve met lately

      • 2mques

        There’s a really smart rapper, who actually used the word Rigamarole in one of his rhymes; however, he did rhyme it with hoe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKBUUXm0eow

        What grade do you give for his intelligence?

        • uncommon sense here

          First Post: How funny…Did you not know of the song ‘Communism’ wherein Comm says “I told the B***h she better have my money or step to the AMG you know comm Sense okay him be that n***a…” LOL

          • uncommon sense here

            Oh plus thanks 4 tha link cuz I def wasn’t listening to this in ’92. You guys on this site are the best. O!O

      • Todd

        Wait, wait, wait…you’re an engineer? Where were you when I was doing my year of engineering school? Even though I found engineering boring, I got decent grades, and I would have hung around for a decent smile.

        But I do remember those days. Talk about a sausagefest and a grenade factory (to jack from Jersey Shore). Yikes!

    • http://vanityinperil.com Vanity in Peril

      yep!

    • http://tigger500.typepad.com Tyler

      Precisely. It’s unfortunate, but true. Well said.

    • http://www.becauseimwrite.com Muze

      was definitely about to quote that line from The Light.

      you summed up my response perfectly so i’ll just cosiiiign. lol

    • Chanelle

      Yep I agree with all of dis

    • VanDCamp

      callin b*tches…b*tches? Really?

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      you know i SPECIFICALLY didn’t mention “The Light” in this joint b/c I have a whole nother post about Common based on the “The Light” and “Come Close” and then his shots at Drake and other ninjas on “Sweet”.

      Common is the motherf*cking blueprint for emo hiphop.

      • Todd

        I can see that. While Common started it, Drake took it a whole ‘nother level. I can see Common being OK around regular ninjas. Only thing I see Drake doing is crying to himself in some nice coffee shop somewhere rocking a Pinball Clemons throwback talking about how hard it was to act in that damn wheelchair. No bueno.

        • A Woman’s Eyes

          Drake looks like he comes home, cries then calls someone and dives face first in someone’s peach, then cries clutching a teddy bear after sex is over and she has left his hotel room.

          • xLadyTx

            *dies*

          • African Mami

            @AWE,

            *DEAD*-that is exactly what he does!

        • VanDCamp

          LOL

      • http://pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

        Definitely lookin forward to this joint. I’m intrigued.

        Because I WAS sitting here like “He didn’t mention The Light… something ain’t right.” And then I dropped my mic.

      • http://www.writerzblockblog.wordpress.com chriscogmta

        Com is not the blueprint for emo rap. The Light and Come Close are certified love songs! There is a difference between Drizzy fading in and out of boughts of depression and Com expressing one of the most genuine love songs hip hop has heard. That was when he was with the Solquarians Movement. We don’t call Pac emo hip hop for dear momma and can you get away. I think the difference is Com came off as authentic.

        But I do think Com and Luda are lame for takin shots at Drake.

  • Jasmine

    - Maybe its the suits. Put a ninja in a tailored suit and women lose their damn minds. Maybe its because he smiles a lot and women view that as sincerity. Or probably more accurately, women just don’t listen to Common like that. –

    ^This! This all day today and tomorrow too. Yes, a suit and a smile will get a brother far. But at the end of the day we just bought the persona. It wasn’t until I heard him on “Make Her Say” and “Universal Mind Control” that I was like “maybe this ninja really ain’t all that”.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      and i’ll bet even then you aint really pay much attention to the music. lol.

    • rhenewal

      I freely admit, I don’t listen to more than a couple words he says. But, that ninja can fill out a tailored suit! And he has the face-body combo that can get it any day.

  • http://twitter.com/sweetdivalove Mia

    He dated Serena. Bless him. “Put a ninja in a tailored suit and women lose their damn minds.” Pretty much.

    • A Woman’s Eyes

      He also dated Taraji Henson.

    • xLadyTx

      And Alicia Keys?? Pre-Swizz, that is…

      • A Woman’s Eyes

        I don’t know why I find that hilarious…and I know I’m one to laugh.

    • J. Lucas

      Andy Erykah Badu’s Booty

      • J. Lucas

        *and

  • http://vanityinperil.com Vanity in Peril

    I can’t say I’ve ever purchased a track of his on Itunes nor do I own any albums. I like some of his stuff. I think he’s pretty fionne. I think being fionne gives you a pass. Not that it’s right but it’s real. I like him on that AMC show that comes on after the Walking Dead that I always forget to watch. Is he necessary? No. Neither are my fiddy-eleven pairs of shoes but I keep them around… because I can. I just assume he’s a conscious rapper because I lump him in with the Talibs of the world. Like the ugly chick hanging with the dimes at the club, I guess he thinks he’s saying something more than the average rapper merely by proxy. Maybe we don’t care about the ignorance in his rhymes for the same reason we don’t care about the ignorance in the other 98% of hip hop.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Dope by Proxy could be the name of a group featuring Common, Alicia Keys, and any number of other artists who get passes for being positive by not being negative.

      except Com likes to exercise his “negative” muscles on occasion.

      • SororSalsa

        India Arie would be the lead singer of that group, except I think girlfriend positived herself out of a career.

      • Ms.LegalAide

        um dies laughing at this point right here….

  • sweet magnolia brown

    I noticed and didn’t appreciate it. I was baffled a bit. I understand not having labels limit you and wanting tobseem like a regular dude. I remeber him saying in the XXL article written by Dave Chappell that he liked booty too. So okay. But from a fan that calls Common my husband, I ain’t cool with it. I thought it had some kind of context meaning but the more I listened to this last CD, I was like hell naw. I was honestly confused. Disappointed. And honestly hurt because my perception of him is as you stated. He won’t get my $9.99. I need an explanation from him. I expect more. And without apology.

  • Loving Me

    Idk what to say about this since I’m one of those women who aren’t actually offended by heavy use of the word bitch unless it’s aimed directly towards me and I’m now slightly ashamed to admit that that line on Make her say is one of my favorite lines of all times ( I really like that song, in fact I like that song so much that I was beyond pissed that the rest of Cudi’s album didn’t measure up to that song in my opinion… pissed to the point that I vowed never to listen to another Cudi track) but I never put Common on a pedestal to where him saying off the wall mildly disrespectful things offends, disturbs or shocks me either. Now if he starts rapping about pimping hoes, shooting up houses and kidnapping babies while throwing around his imagined gang ties, than we’ll have a problem and he’ll go on that list of rappers I refuse to listen to ever again. Until than he remains a sexy rapper I rarely listen to outside of a few features on tracks by rappers that I do listen to… and the author of my favorite line in a semi recent song

    • Kidsister

      #cosign especially on the part about not being offended by the b word until its directed toward me. I think it was either Too Short, or Snoop (shoot, idk. Somebody from the west side) that once said in an interview that Pimps and Hoes do exist while defending their use of certain words while rapping. That always stuck to me, cuz I’m like you know, that’s real talk. There are pimps, hoes, B!tches (I’ve been told they aint sh!t but hoes and tricks), etc. If its not you, then don’t trip and keep it moving.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      kind of off topic, but that song was not emblematic at all of Cudi’s album. i would recommend listening to his second joint though. I motherf*cking LOVE his second album. and i can’t even honestly explain why. i just do.

      • Loving Me

        You usually have pretty good music suggestions so I may give it a listen cause the 1st one turned me completely off to him

      • http://twitter.com/itztrizz617 Tristan

        I heard motm II by accident when my boy downloaded it on my computer (a pet peeve of mine…dont download things to someones computer but thats another story) and i heard some songs come up when i left my itunes on shuffle. i then went back and downloaded motm 1 and its meh give or take some tracks