Look what you’ve done, Common. Yesterday (Dec. 20), the Chi-town rapper stopped by Shade 45 to speak on the subliminals hidden in between the lines of “Sweet,” a song off his ninth studio album, “The Dreamer, The Believer” (Dec. 20).
” Y’all ni**as man, you soft motherfuckas. Yeah my man, motherfucka. Then come around my crib. You know where I’m from. Some ho ass ni**as. Singing all around me man, ‘la la la!’ You ain’t motherfuckin’ Frank Sinatra. Uh. Lil’ b*tch. Yeah, this the raw right here! This the raw right here ni**a. Sweet motherfucka! Sweet ass bitch motherfucka!” Common rhymes on the interlude to “Sweet.”
Shade 45 host Sway recently asked Common the question on the tip of everyone’s tongues: “So you’re inviting Drake into battle?” Common continued to suggest that if the crown fits Drake, so be it. “Aye, he opened his mouth and said some things, so if that’s what he wants. All that sublimal you can do that too but you might as well say it now…. The verse is about me, but when you hear some of the stuff on the chorus, you can’t help but think about dude, I guess. And that’s what he felt. So yeah. At the end of the day, you fit in that category. He already embraced it, so wear it.”
But are the “things” that Common claims Drake said the outro to his Cali Christmas performance (“I don’t give a fuck if you got something to say to me. Say it to my motherfuckin’ face, n*gga. Just cause I sing I’m not no b*tch. So if you got something to say, I’m right here”) or the kind words he spoke of Common’s ex-girlfriend, Serena Williams, when talking to Complex. “‘I really, really love and care for Serena Williams,” Drake told Complex. “She’s incredible. That’s someone I’m proud to say I know. She’s definitely in my life and I’m in her life. It’s great to watch her play tennis. Very impressive.”
It’s ironic that a man who’s been teased for being “soft” throughout his own career would call out an artist for being such. Is it Drake’s soft side or flirtatous moves on his Williams that has gotten under Common’s skin, if that? Let’s end the beef here, guys.
With the heartfelt, candid words that linger in the verses of both Common and Drake, we’ll have you decide which rapper is “softer” when their lyrics are stacked up side-by-side below.
Five Drake Lyrics
“I need you to rescue me from my destiny/ I’m trying to live right and give you whatever’s left of me/ Cause you know life is what we make it and a / Chance is like a picture, it’d be nice if you just take it” – “Unthinkable (I’m Ready)” remix
“I know they say the first love is the sweetest but that first cut is the deepest/ I tried to keep us together, you were busy keeping secrets/ Secrets you were telling everybody but me/ Don’t be fooled by the money, I’m still just young and unlucky/ I’m surprised you couldn’t tell” – “Karaoke”
“That’s when you start to laugh/ Saying I just want what I can’t have/Won’t even give me a chance/ Claiming I’m just not as serious as you/ Shorty if you only knew, this is serious” – “Cece’s Interlude”
“And I leave out and you call me, you tell me that you sorry/ You love me, and I love you, and your heart hurts, mine does too/ And it’s just words and they cut deep but it’s our world, it’s just us two” – “Look What You’ve Done”
“I know that showing emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy/ Know that I don’t make music for ni**as who don’t get pussy/ So those are the ones I count on to dis me or over look me” – “Lord Knows”
On “Take Care,” Drake is all about the idea of “rescuing,” i.e., using his fame and power to save a beautiful girl from an unmemorable existence. In his remix to Alicia Keys‘ “Unthinkable (I’m Ready),” however, he turns the concept on its ear and asks a girl to do him the favor of saving him from his luxurious lifestyle. Throughout his career, Drake has most pointedly displayed his emotion while interacting with women: when he admits that he’s “young and unlucky” on “Karaoke,” it’s in the same hushed, confessional tone he adopts on “Marvins Room,” where he quickly follows a boast to an ex about how much sex he has with the line, “Having a hard time adjusting to fame.” Drake, who also touches on the concept of family in songs like “Look What You’ve Done” and “The Resistance,” is fully aware of his “soft” persona and rejects it, saying that “showing emotion don’t ever mean I’m a pussy” on “Lord Knows.”
Five Common Lyrics
“Reflections of the sun glaring through the window/Now the audience staring at my mental/Feeling like the world, the world is at my fingers/’Bout to speak to an auditorium full of dreamers” – “The Dreamer”
“There are times.. when you’ll need someone/I will be by your side/There is a light, that shines/Special for you, and me” – “The Light”
“For the love of the team, trying to double the dream/Be grateful, like the church psalm my grandmother sings.” – “Aquarius”
“I just want you to know/Your whole being is beautiful/I’m going to do the best I can do/’Cause I’m the best when I’m with you.” – “Come Close”
“Show money becomes bail/Relationships become jail/Children are unheld/I wish love was for sale” – “My Way Home”
Like Drake, Common has a romantic streak in “The Light” and “Come Close” that denies the hip-hop go-to of vague misogyny and overstated braggadocio. The rapper also has a strong sense of family, frequently nodding to his mother, grandmother and daughter, the latter of whom he says he’ll “learn through” on the title track to “Be.” Where Common diverges from Drake is through his overarching commentary on community — on “Aquarius,” he hears the dreams of the less fortunate, while “My Way Home” (from Kanye West‘s “Late Registration”) finds Common lamenting about the status quo. Common has plenty to get emotional over — he just does it in a more socially conscious way.
So which rapper is “softer,” Drake or Common? Is the concept of being “soft” even important in mainstream hip-hop? Sound off in the comments section about this sticky situation.