by R. Asmerom
Is Common controversial? That’s what Radar Online believes. Common will be at the White House tomorrow for poetry night, hosted by Michelle Obama, and Radar Online questioned the decision to have Common represent for the festivities, deeming that some of his lyrics are considered too politically controversial.
“In this this 2007 passage, the rapper (who dated Serena Williams last year) urges his fan base to “Burn a Bush: With that happening, why they messing with Saddam? Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button, killing over oil and grease, no weapons of destruction, how can we follow a leader, when this a corrupt one?”
Many Black hip-hop fans wouldn’t consider Common to be controversial at all. Instead, the one c-word that fans would use to describe him is conscious. In fact, he’s one of the few conscious rappers on the scene today – a scene that used to be filled by the likes of Public Enemy, KRS One and Tupac (part-time).
Why is it that thoughtful criticism has to be labeled controversial? Using such a loaded word to sum up the intentions of an activist is dangerous because it implies that political criticism is unpatriotic and insulting. Common has gotten into hot water before for his pro-black sentiments and the fact that he’s not limited to talking about designer labels, bling, and groupies will continue to make him a target amongst conservative audiences, ironically enough. As we all know, keeping it dumb and empty gets you further in the entertainment world.
As one of the few people in the rap game who balances capitalist interests with that of political and social commentary, we think Common is the perfect choice for tomorrow night’s White House event. Obviously, the Obamas respect his work too.