All Articles Tagged "Common"
First, who’s your favorite conscious rapper?
And secondly, what is a conscious rapper?
I asked this question about a month ago on my Facebook page and the consensus among most who responded was that a “conscious rapper” was an emcee who wasn’t afraid to make a much needed political and social critique in their music. While everyone who responded had their own ideas of which emcee out today best fit that label, they all pretty much agreed that the label gets thrown around way too much.
As wiki defines it, conscious rap, has its roots in the jazz poetry movement of the ’60’s and ’70’s, which included the likes of The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron. However in this essay, An Historical Definition Of The Term Rap, Hip Hop historian Davey D reminds us that rap itself is shaped out of a long tradition of signifying, which was loud, brash, boastful and at times political. Probably the genre’s most notable influencer is former SNCC and Black Panther organizer H. Rap Brown, whose legendary signifying found its way in the Sugar Hill’s Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.”
At any rate, as Hip Hop progressed, the conscious definitely have evolved over the years from its peak in the ’80’s when mainstream rappers like Public Enemy, Poor Righteous Teachers, KRS-One weren’t afraid to directly and aggressively pump a Black fist, yell at the cops, tell us to fight the power and more importantly, make all kinds of political statements. However what often constitutes conscious rapping today is a little more ambiguous.
And I think no one more illustrates that ambiguity than Common.
It should be noted that upon his arrival on scene, he didn’t look or sound anything like he does now. There was no talk of Black Panthers or worshiping the Black Queen. There were no crochet hat and pant sets. Instead, on his first album Can I Borrow A Dollar? Common Sense was your typical backpacker in baggy jeans and oversized sweaters, using clever word play and rapping about tricking “Heidi Hoe” over jazz beats.
Common kept up the same jazzy motif and slick word play on his second LP Resurrection which dropped in 1994. And although not as blunt as his first album, Common still loved talking about the ladies, reminding us all on the title track, “I’m a hoe, not a hoe-nigga.” But admittedly his rapping got a little more deep and self-reflective.
In particular, he took his “admiration” for the ladies and turned it into a metaphor about the decline of true Hip Hop in I Used to Love H.E.R. The track was a weird bit of respectability politics, which equated the purity of Hip Hop to a woman’s lost innocence and virginity.
Naturally, some folks, including fellow emcee Ice Cube, would take issue with Common’s assertion that “gangster” rap, which was the mainstream at the time, was ruining this figurative woman. Yet the song’s insightful critique would resonate with and draw strong praise from many Hip Hop fans who had grown disenchanted by the ever-increasing commercialization of the genre. The track would not only become a quintessential reference in Hip Hop’s history, but it was the moment, which helped to solidify Common’s place as a conscious rapper.
So Common and Lupita Nyong’o walk into a bar…
This isn’t the beginning of a joke, but rather, what numerous New Yorkers claim they witnessed on Tuesday night. According to the good folks on Twitter, Lupita and Common were spotted spending some quality time in the city, including seeing an off-Broadway show, going out for drinks and grabbing a bite to eat. They could be working on a new project together, but considering that Nyong’o is reportedly no longer seeing rapper K’Naan, and Common seems to have moved on from Serena Williams, they could be getting romantic-al as I like to say. Here’s what fans of the Oscar winners had to say about seeing them kicking it in the city.
The pair were spotted seeing a show called Big Love, and the theater the show took place in, Signature Theater, shouted them out on Twitter:
And later that night, they were spotted grabbing drinks at a nearby bar called Bea, where one mini detective actually snapped a picture of the pair chatting:
Again, they could just be getting to know each other for film purposes, but man, they would make a damn cute couple! Would you be here for Common and Lupita? Or do you hope that he can still reunite with Serena?
There are certain celebrity couples that we quietly hope will wake up one day, realize how much they love each other and get back together. At the top of that wish list is Common and Serena Williams. Last night following the “Glory” rapper’s Oscar win, his coveted award wound up in the hands of his ex-bae.
The curvy beauty posed for a photo with Common’s Oscar, which she later shared on Instagram.
“I just won* a Oscar! ( *borrowed Commons),” she captioned the photo.
She also posed for a photo with Common, which she captioned:
“Tried to run with Common’s Oscar, but I got caught!!!!”
That image, however, was later removed.
According to TMZ, the pair partied together at Vanity Fair’s post-Oscars shindig. Of course, exes can be amicable and friendly without reconciling, but Common has made extremely clear how deeply he felt for Ms. Williams. Last summer, he even said that he was hoping to marry her; however, since they didn’t make it to the altar, he confessed that it would probably be a while before he gets that deeply involved with another person.
“If I’m in it as much as I was with Serena, as much as I loved her…it takes time to heal and find that peace to be able to move on,” he said.
Are you hoping for a reunion between these two as much as we are?
At Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, Common, who performed his Oscar-winning track “Glory,” brought along a very special lady: his daughter, Omoye Assata Lynn.
The daddy-daughter duo was photographed heading into the Staples Center on Sunday just before the annual awards show began. Omoye looked absolutely gorgeous wearing a white sleeveless dress and black sandals. Her beautiful tresses were pulled back into a very neat ponytail. It’s absolutely true when they say less is more because the simple, yet chic, look definitely worked for this 17-year-old stunner.
It seems fitting that the rapper would bring Omoye to the awards ceremony with him, as she was actually in the studio with him when “Glory” was composed.
“It’s been one of the most exciting moments for me in creating a song ever, just because of what it’s for and who it’s for,” he told Billboard back in December. “When I was writing this song, my daughter was in the studio, and she was enjoying it — she’s 17. And when I finished the song, I played it for my mother and she was like, ‘That song made me want to cry.’ She asked me to send it to her, and… my mother doesn’t do that too much.”
Omoye has blossomed into such a beautiful young lady.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise
I had a feeling Beyoncé was going to come through at this year’s Grammy Awards. I just had a feeling. And turns out my intuition was on point, once again. And even though I looove to be right, I feel a way about the way this is going down.
I’ll explain; but first, the receipts.
Everyday this week, we’ve been learning who was and wasn’t performing. On the no list: Taylor Swift. On the yes list: Kanye West, Katy Perry, Sam Smith and Mary J Blige (together), Ariana Grande, Common and John Legend.
In a recent interview with Us Weekly, Common spilled the tea, confirming that Beyoncé would take the stage as well. Here’s what he said:
“We do have an incredible introduction to our performance. A segue into our song ‘Glory,’ as a tribute to Selma, being done by the great Beyoncé. That’s one of the greatest talents you can have, helping us segue into it. To co-create a performance with someone like her. It’s good.”
If y’all don’t know, I love Beyoncé. I love her albums, she seems like a nice person, I defend her against people who are hellbent on denying her very real and glaring greatness. She literally inspires me.
But with all that being said, I feel a way about her performing with Common and John Legend.
According to Billboard, Bey will perform “Take My Hand Precious Lord” to honor Selma. Like, I said I ride for Bey and even though this is a tall order to fill, considering gospel great Mahalia Jackson sang it so memorably, I think she can do it. That’s not the issue.
If you’ve seen the movie Selma, you know that there is a scene in which David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, calls Ledisi, who portrays Mahalia Jackson, and she sings this very song to him. And Ledisi sang that song. I’m not one of those people who believes we only have room for one “fave.” If you’ve found yourself sleeping on Ledisi for far too long, in my best Dap from School Daze voice, “WAKE UP!” Her honeyed rich vocals and impeccable scatting abilities are unmatched in the industry.
And considering the fact that she actually starred in the movie Selma, along with Common, it only seems right that she would be the one to perform this song on this “great” stage.
But apparently, the industry doesn’t work like that.
At the end of the day, Beyoncé is a much bigger name. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that, with her light skin and straight hair, Bey Bey fits more neatly into the mainstream mold of beauty. But that’s not her fault. Genetics do what they do. I don’t even think Beyoncé is at fault for accepting the invitation to perform the song. Hell, if they asked me to perform “Take My Hand Precious Lord,” I might get up there and do a Negro spiritual hum. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with this classic and beautifully-made film?
But why couldn’t the two sing together, with Ledisi singing “Take My Hand Precious Lord” and Beyoncé singing… something else?
Anything else is just shady boots.
Judging by Ledisi’s Instagram, which I do follow, I know that she’s in LA for Grammy week and she’s also nominated for Best R&B performance of her song “Like This.” So there is absolutely no reason, other than exposure and industry shadiness, to keep her from doing what she consistently does, deliver a goose bump inducing and memorable vocal performance.
Basically, this should have been Ledisi’s moment.
When the Oscar nominations were announced, many were disappointed that Selma was overlooked in the Best Actor and Best Director categories, including Common, who actually received a nod for his track, “Glory,” which was inspired by the film.
“I was definitely disappointed,” Common told USA Today. “I was definitely wishing that Ava had received an Oscar nomination for best director and wishing David had received an Oscar nomination for best actor. It’s a disappointment.”
He did, however, express gratitude that the film was nominated for Best Picture.
“But I found some victory and happiness in the fact that the movie is nominated for Best Picture. That says a lot about Ava, because she is the director of the movie. She created the film to be Best Picture. I hope she at least feels great about that.”
As for his own Best Original Song nomination, Common had this to say:
“This is the first time I can ever say, hey I’m an Oscar-nominated artist. It was a goal and vision for myself to receive an Oscar. I was hoping I’d get it as an actor, now I’m super grateful to be getting it as an artist. To be a part of ‘Selma’ is one of the best moments in my life.”
He also dished on the possibility of him performing “Glory” on the Oscars stage.
“That would be the top of the mountain for me,” he said.
So, about those Oscar nominations…
This morning, the nominations for the 87th annual Academy Awards were announced, and while Selma was nominated, it was only for the categories of Best Picture, and Best Original Song for Common and John Legend’s Golden Globe-winning hit, “Glory.”
The lack of nominations for David Oyelowo in his role as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Best Director for Ava DuVernay, already have people talking, mostly for two reasons: For one, this will be the least diverse Oscars when it comes to acting nods since 1998, according to the Huffington Post (though we are reminded that the Academy is “93% white, 76% male with average age of 63″). And secondly, because Selma, and the film’s director, are amazing. Reactions on Twitter have been ones of confusion and disappointment:
“No Ava DuVernay, No David Oyelowo…That’s all folks. All Best Picture nom is a token invite.”
“Dear Academy. You show no love for [Ava DuVernay] so you get no love from me. I will not be watching the #Oscars this year.”
“The kind of movie #Selma Film would need to be to garner Academy love [Ava DuVernay] would never make that. She love her people too much”
“Sadly, it will be an all white #Oscars2015 ceremony…”
But if you ask DuVernay how she’s feeling (Oyelowo does not have a Twitter account by the way), she’s doing just fine without a Best Director’s nomination:
As for the rest of the nominees in the most important categories:
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper, Jason Hall
The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson
The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten
Whiplash, Damien Chazelle
Best Original Screenplay
Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Boyhood, Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy
Best Original Song
“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie; Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from Selma; Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me; Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again; Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
If you wish to check out the full list, click over to the Academy Awards website, and you can watch the live show on February 22nd at 7E/4P. What are your thoughts on this year’s nominations?
John Legend and Common both have a lot to celebrate this evening as the two have scored a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture for their song “Glory,” which has been featured on the soundtrack of Ava DuVernay’s Selma.
It was an emotional moment for both men who took time out while accepting their award to acknowledge issues of race and violence currently plaguing our nation.
“The first day I stepped on the set of ‘Selma,’ I began to feel like this was bigger than a movie,” Common said during his acceptance speech. “As I got to know the people of the Civil Rights Movement, I realized that I am the hopeful Black woman who was denied her right to vote. I am the caring White supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed Black kid who maybe needed a hand, but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. ‘Selma’ has awaken my humanity.”
“Selma is now,” he concluded.
John Legend, who revealed that he wasn’t called in to partake in the creation of the song until the last minute, also took advantage of the moment to shine light on social injustice.
“It’s so connected to what’s happening right now. We’re still in solidarity with those who are out there fighting for justice right now. We’re so grateful to write this song, hopefully as an inspiration to them.”
Well done, fellas!
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise
The parallels between the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and the war on Black men today couldn’t be any clearer as millions continue to take to the streets and demand justice in the recent killings of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and, sadly, many more. As we talked to rapper Common who not only plays outspoken leader James Bevel in the upcoming historical drama “Selma,” but has also been vocal himself about the injustices African Americans are facing right from the battleground in Ferguson, the Chi-town native revealed a special message he hopes readers will understand when they watch this film, making a point to say you don’t have to be perfect to join the fight; you just have to stand up for what’s right. Watch the video and see what he had to say about being a apart of such a historic moment in time on-screen and off.
Grammy-nominated soul vocalist Maimouna Youssef, better known as Mumu Fresh, has been in the studio preparing new music for fans. Her latest hit, “Tell My Story,” reflects on her childhood journey being raised as a Black nationalist and her self-esteem struggles due to her bi-racial identity. In the song, Mumu also distinguishes herself as an emcee who drops bars on relatable issues young women face in adulthood.
Besides grinding in the studio, Mumu has held music workshops in local communities while she prepares for her world tour with rapper Common. When she returns from her tour, Mumu has a laundry list of goals she’s set out to achieve, including completing her sophomore album, filming three music videos, and organizing her first independent world tour. Currently, collaborators on Mumu’s second album will be Femi Kuti, son of Fela Kuti, and Chucky Thompson who produced hits for Ma$e and the late Notorious B.I.G.
To help support Mumu and her ventures, check out her KickStarter page. Those who help fund her will receive incentives such as exclusive content, backstage passes, a signed advanced copy of her new album and much more.
Show Mumu your support before October 31st!
Below is Mumu’s music video for the song, “Tell My Story.” Also, her KickStarter’s visual accompaniment.