Rapper Common wants to take hip-hop in a new direction, he says, and he has an unsuspecting “friend” in President elect Barack Obama.
Obama “is going to change hip-hop for the better,” predicted Common, whose eighth album, “Universal Mind Control” hits shelves soon.
“I really do believe we as hip-hop artists pick up what’s going on in the world and try to reflect that,” he told CNN, outlining his belief that mainstream as well as so-called “conscious” rappers, the more socially aware, will pick up on what he sees as the more optimistic prospects of an Obama presidency.
“I think hip-hop artists will have no choice but to talk about different things and more positive things, and try to bring a brighter side to that because, even before Barack, I think people had been tired of hearing the same thing,” he said.
Lyrically, violence has never been his thing, soft drug use has been mentioned but rarely glamorized, he removed homophobic references from his lyrics years ago, and while there have been hints of misogyny and the occasional N-word in his verses, neither has been a staple of his rhymes.
The 36 year old rhymesmith courts the ladies, personifies hip-hop, aggrandizes himself and his hometown of Chicago and respectfully doles out props to hiphop’s forefathers, most notably to Afrika Bambaataa on the new album’s title track.
The album’s sound, however is atypical, moving and sometimes jerkily from club banger to anthem to ballad to Top 40. The latter even runs counter to the opening verse of “Everywhere.” “No pop, no pop, no pop, no pop/We gonna do this thing till the sky just drop.”