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.


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:

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Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) 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. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. 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. You can hit him on his hitter at

  • 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.

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

  • Royale W. Cheese

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

  • Yeah, I don’t listen to him. . .

  • 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.

  • 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”.

  • Mia

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

  • 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.

  • 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

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