Common Supports Drake’s “Hip-Hop” Status Following Yasiin Bey Criticism

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Drake and Yasiin Bey have dominated social media discourse ever since the artist formerly known as Mos Def called the Toronto superstar’s music “pop” that one would “hear at Target.” Common offered his take on the situation and said the 6 God comes from Hip-Hop.

The Chicago rapper appeared on Hot 97’s Ebro In The Morning on Wednesday (Jan. 24) and spoke about Hip-Hop becoming commercialized on a grander scale. “I wrote a song called ‘I Used to Love H.E.R.’ and that joint was really speaking to when it started becoming real corporate and losing the purity of it,” he said. “I think now, artists can be artists. Some people, if their intention is to just be a pop artist, then so be it.”

As for the For All The Dogs artist, the 51-year-old wordsmith believes his Hip-Hop foundation can’t be questioned. “To me, I think Drake comes from Hip Hop,” he asserted. “When I first heard him rhyming, I was like, ‘Yo, this dude rhyming.’ And if he goes out and makes songs that are popular, then that’s what it is. He’s still an MC. The dude is an incredible songwriter, he’s an incredible artist.”

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Common continued his comments by acknowledging how ubiquitous Drake has become, but reiterating that his expansive reach doesn’t strip him of his Hip-Hop status. “You can’t touch that many people, for as long a time as he’s been doing […] This man has touched different aspects of culture and been able to continue to do it,” he said. “You gotta have some respect and know that this dude is a very talented artist.”

While he seemingly took the father of one’s side, the “Go!” artist expressed his deep respect for Yasiin Bey as well. “Yasiin is a genius, man,” he said. “I’ve been around that dude and watched him as an actor, as an artist and listened to a lot of his raps and he is very high level when it comes to poetic rap — not even just poetic rap, but I’m saying he has poetry within his rap. He can style on anything. He can do a lot.”

Bey shook up the internet a few weeks ago when he appeared on The Cutting Room Floor podcast. The host asked him if Drizzy was Hip-Hop, and he countered by saying he made pop music that should be heard in Target or was the ideal soundtrack for shopping. He called the Grammy winner’s musical likable but was not willing to give it the Hip-Hop label.

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Drake responded via an Instagram story where he posted a clip of Method Man speaking about what Hip-Hop was. “Hip-Hop is a culture,” the Wu-Tang Clan member stated. “It’s a way of life, the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you walk. It’s the breakdancing, rhymes, stage show, DJ, mixing and scratching, the wordplay. That’s Hip-Hop.”

The “Search & Rescue” artist added a caption which read, “What umi say again? Lemme shine my light king don’t change up now.” The caption was a reference to Mos Def’s classic 1999 record “Umi Says.”

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