This past week, part of my weekly watch of all things rap has been occupied by varying opinions on Common’s recent partnership with Microsoft. One particular take by a writer @ Gawker left me with the confused face because I have a hard time understanding why the scribe is so offended by Lonnie Lynn’s decision to accept a check by name-dropping Bill Gates’ products.
Several months ago we passed judgment on “conscious” rapper Common—he’s fundamentally a tool. Not for his music, which is cool enough, but because he merrily goes around selling himself as a pitchman for everything from Smirnoff to GAP, while simultaneously yapping on and on about his true devotion to hip hop and love and art and The Corner and acting like these “brand partnerships” somehow represent something deeper than just a paycheck. It’s incredibly grating. Like his outfits. Well, now Common is speaking out (to Ad Age, appropriately) about how he’s totally keeping it real by selling product placement spots in a video for his new song called—wait for it—”Universal Mind Control.” Tell us, how dead is irony?:
Said writer goes on to quote a few lines from Com’s “I Used To Love H.E.R.” to attempt to portray Mr. Sense as a hypocrite.
I beg to differ.
A few months ago, we poked fun at (read: criticized) Nas for teaming up with Fila. There’s a distinct difference between Fila & Microsoft.
Fila is arse.
Microsoft is cool in it’s own way, the way that includes pervading almost every single household or work day in America. They’re like the tech version of the Yankees.
Common Sense did his bid toiling in the underground, having his artistry virtually ignored by the mainstream. Even though Hov named dropped, essentially proclaiming him as one of the best, no one bothered to listen still. Luckily or as fate would have it, he linked up with Kanye for production, we got Be and things have been on the upswing. And the good thing is that Common’s lyricism or sense of focus haven’t been affected, at least not as music is concerned.
So, yeah, get a check Com.
It is very easy to be moral & wave the “fuck the man, down with the system” flag when contracts & checks oodles of O’s are being flung in your face. Very easy to summon up the bitterness needed. But when you have chances to earn an honest dollar, good chances, you take them. And as much as our artists namedrop & endorse, there are many other companies who’d be wise to follow suit. I can’t tell you how smug I once was @ a Roots concert sponsored by Kools, my drug of choice. They were handing out coupons after the show and you know I was stuffing my pockets with’em.
Once upon a time, Common couldn’t become a doctor because he ain’t have the patients. At this point though, I think it’s fair to say he’s interned, earned his stripes & deserves to get paid like any good physician should.
What the writer should have been harping on was the Erykah epidemic that’s nearly taken under many a good rhymesayer, word to Jay being a vic seems like.
Previously Posted — “…Smarten Up, Nas.”
Bun B – Your Everything BW Pop It 4 Pimp Promo CDS
Camp Lo – In Black Hollywood
Mariah Carey – Butterfly
Big Mike And Max B – Wavie Crockett
Biz Markie – All Samples Cleared
Rob Base, DJ E-Z Rock – It Takes Two
Cam’ron – S.D.E
N.O.R.E. – God’s Favorite
Jeru The Damaja – The Sun Rises In The East
Domino – Domino
Foxy Brown – Ill Na Na
KRS-One – Return Of The Boom Bap
KRS-One – KRS-One