free website hit counter Spiced Tea & Letters: Common Says You Gotta Be...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Common Says You Gotta Be...

Common Q&A
by Laylah Amatullah Barrayn
Excepted from the Article

Beautiful Photo's by Delphine A. Fawundu-Buford

Days before Common’s highly anticipated album, he sat down with after giving a kinetic show in the pouring rain at NYC's Columbia University. The new album is called Be. Electric Circus was almost called The Isness, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn asked Common, “Was there a relationship between those titles?” Common answers…

Common: Both of those things do symbolize certain things. The Isness was saying that ‘It is what it is.’ And I was honestly coming from a place, like at the time of [Electric Circus], this is what it is. This is hip hop, you don’t have to really judge it or try to figure it out.

BE came from another place, where it was like ‘I had been through this struggle and I had been through the lack of response to [Electric Circus], I been through the break up with me and [Erykah Badu].' What do I want to do? I want to be, I want to exist. And exist from the core of who I am.

That is what BE means, to be who you are, the simplicity of being. Not trying too hard, to be who you are, no matter where you are. You can walk in a room and be amongst gangsters and still be humble and be a nice guy. You can walk amongst the bourgeois. It’s about honoring self.

LAB:Is going back home apart of being? Your video for “The Corner” was shot in Chicago.

When you be, you gotta deal with where you began. Along with the root of yourself, you have to look at where you have evolved. Going home was very symbolic. It represented going home, physically and spiritually. Chicago is the foundation for me. Going home doesn’t mean you’re trying to live in the past. That’s not being. One thing I was really adamant about was that you have to be in the present, you can’t dwell in the past. You can’t worry about the future, you just gotta be. Even in certain situations that aren’t going your way, you still gotta be. Another thing that BE meant to me was being human. You can be angry at a certain point, you could be happy, you could be sexual, you could be holy. You could be laughing and crying.

LAB:What is it about Chicago that made you express yourself through hip hop as opposed to expressing yourself any other way?

Chicago is such an authentic city to me. It’s really not an industry driven place. You don’t have record companies and movie houses. It’s really a blue-collar city and a real soulful city. It’s authentic in that if you are something, then you better be it or you will get called out. Where in some places you might put on a character and people might accept it. So, Chicago set that tone for me to be authentic.

LAB:So, are there any specific aspects of Chicago that drew you to hip hop?

Oh, yeah. See, Chicago is a black city. It’s very segregated, too. Hip hop is such a real art form and it’s true to who we are. We didn’t put up no masks. When we started break dancing and cats was getting on the mic talking about each other, dissin each other, talking about what’s going on in their neighborhood, using their imagination, creating stories. That real aspect of hip hop is what I connected to. Which is what Chicago is about, the realness. So, hip hop was very revolutionary. Chicago just got an underlining tone, a revolutionary tone too. It’s a lot of ordinary people, there’s still a movement. Before we had the Black Panthers, now we have Fred [Hampton] Jr. and Aaron Patterson and people trying to make moves.

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At 2:15 PM, Blogger said...

yo- keep the blogs coming!! i keep checking back, hoping to keep getting hit with your words, thoughts, ideas..

keep em coming!


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