But do you know this Common?
"A b*tch ni**a wit an attitude named Cube, stepped to the Com with a feud..."
The Common we know is pro-black, pro-women, pro-god, pro-life, pro love; a black man calling a "ni**a" a "b*tch" is a vortex of hateful epithets that would surely sear his khaki-melanin skin, right? That can't be the Common that freestyles in church:
Your lease is up, at the crib house ni**az get evicted
In videos them white boys talking you get Wicked
Common is calling out someone for being a "house ni**a"? Aww yeah, hypocrisy is all that and a bag of
Hyprocrite, I'm filling out your Death Certificate
Slanging bean pies and St. Ide's in the same sentence...
Yes, more calling out. But now is probably a good time for some context/backstory:
This is Common, over ten years ago, calling out Ice Cube (perhaps the grand patriarch of "hip hop selling out", but we'll explore that another time). Common's song I Used to Love H.E.R. (that's the Common we all know) was quoted and used by Westside Connection (Cube's post-NWA crew) in a diss record aimed at Mr. Sense. Of course these were the days that ish like that mattered, and so Common came firing back with one of the fiercest battle songs ever: The Bitch In Yoo
So this is a song you should peep because you might not know this Common:
I heard a ho say you her favorite rapper
(So what) so I had to slap her
Holla! Now that's the Common we know: slappin' h*es when they say stupid stuff. I like the Gap ad, but this makes me think a parody would be even better. Have Common rapping his jingle while slappin' white folks in a Gap t-shirt and cargo shorts. You can even tweak some of the lines from the commercial:
(to' when I flow, feel the power that rap has
white people give me love when I slap 'em in Gap ads)
Actually get Kanye in there also, and that might be straight gold.
Of course, the spoof works off the contrast with the Common we identify with. Conscious, positive, not-judging-you Common.
That Common we know didn't first appear in the Gap ad. That Common we know first appeared with the album One Day it Will All Make Sense. The first album after Common became a father. Also the first album after writing the Ice Cube diss track.
Since then, this has been the Common we know:
This ain't no East coast, West coast, none of the above
I'm from Chi, I went to Cali, ni**az gave me love
Common does go from coast to coast and get love from all people. Presumably receiving positive vibes because he puts positive vibes out there. But this is a song to know because even then -- when he was edgier, meaner, realer or whatever -- he got love coast-to-coast. Just out of respect for his skills. This song is lyrically ridiculous: full of wordplay, coded references, puns and everything else that often goes underappreciated in non-mainstream rap songs. As he challenges Cube towards the end, "ain't got no choice but to fight, none of y'all motherf'ers got a chance on the mic". This was never really a battle because they weren't gonna get with Common on that emcee level. So even as Rashid gets his own Ice Cube on via movies and mainstream media, the thing that will give him cred, perhaps eternally so, is a song like Bitch In Yoo.
Common could be Liz Phair, and this song/era is his Exile In Guyville.
Anytime you come out yo, I'm a talk about you
Until you let that bitch in you, walk up out you
Any last words before I hit the switch?
From the immortal words of one: a bitch is a bitch
AnyCom, "The B*tch in Yoo" makes me think of some this stuff and pass it on as a song to know. Here's the popular version in a youtube video:
"we're gonna give it to the world, peace, love, and Gap"
(that's the popular version, the original "demo" that only the cool kids know about is posted below. )