Common is a hard rapper to dislike. His flow and lyrics are undeniably good and he often teams up with great producers, most particularly Kanye West and the late J Dilla. He’s confident but rarely cocky, often a go-to rapper when one is searching for positive energy in the hip-hop world. So that being said, why the hell is he picking on an equally un-confrontational pop-rapper like Drake?
It all started last month when Common released “The Dreamer/The Believer,” which featured the single “Sweet,” a track that contained some controversial lyrics like “Singing all around me man, la la la/You aint muthafucking Frank Sinatra/Uh, lil bitch/Yeah, this the raw right here.” That line and one earlier in the song referring to someone as the “’87 nigga,” were confirmed by Common to be about Drake (it should be noted that Drake was actually born in 1986). The day of that confirmation, Drake tweeted, “Platinum. Now THAT’S Sweet!” although he quickly deleted it.
Last week, Rick Ross released the pretty sizable “Rich Forever” mixtape which featured the song “Stay Schemin,” featuring guest verses from Drake and French Montana. Drake’s verse is definitely directed at some antagonistic rappers, but it never gets too specific other than a line where he says, “Don’t be ducking like you never wanted nothing/It’s feeling like rap change, there was a time it was rugged/Back when if a nigga reached, it was for the weapon/Nowadays niggas reach just to sell they record.”
A dis like that could easily be directed towards once-menacing rappers like Ice Cube or Dr. Dre who’ve now softened into middle age, but Common responded in kind, remixing the track with a new verse immediately following Drake’s. It’s pretty funny hearing the succession of Drake’s vague sendoff with Common’s viciously specific response which reads:
My motto is: Chicago, bitch
Everybody know you sweet, what the problem is
Don’t play dumb, I’m the one that acknowledged it
Son of a bitch, I imagine what your father is
She said, “How you make your opponent, the rapper of the moment?”
His style, he don’t own it
Acting all hard when he hardly like that
You gon’ mess around and make me catch a body like that, ooooh
Don’t do it
‘Cause every song you make Joe is really hoe music
I heard you said you wasn’t a bitch because you sing
You a bitch because you cling like a bitch that’s eighteen
Can’t say my name but rap about a nigga’s wife
You so black and white, tryna to live a nigga’s life
I’m taking too long with this amateur guy
You ain’t wettin nobody, nigga, you Canada dry
That’s a doozy right there. Adding insult to injury, Common puts all subtleties aside exclaiming, “Make no mistake, I’m talking to Drake!” complete with a sample of “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. He even goes so far as to credit the song to Rick Ross, Common, French Montana, and That Hoe Ass Nigga.
The question is, why pick on Drake? He’s virtually harmless as his work is more geared toward the FM dial than the underground. On top of that he is also a very likable rapper, having many of the same attributes that make Common a favorite. Jealousy, perhaps? Maybe there’s more to this than just verses. It’s possible Common and Drake ran into each other at a public event and things didn’t go so well. After all, they are both actors and prominent figures in the hip-hop community so it’s probable. The ball is currently in Drake’s corner so we’ll see when and how he makes the next move.
Check out the sequence below with the videos for “Sweet” and “Stay Schemin” followed by Common’s revisions on the bottom.
Common – “Sweet”
Rick Ross featuring Drake and French Montana – “Stay Schemin”
“Stay Schemin” (Common Remix)