By Sowmya Krishnamurthy
Common’s seminal 1994 track, “I Used to Love H.E.R.” portrays the evolution of hip-hop using the metaphor of a woman. In this brand new clip from “MTV2 Presents: Yo! MTV Raps Classic Cuts,” hip-hop aficionados like rapper Talib Kweli, DJ Quik and radio personality Miss Info break down how Common’s words spawned a lyrical beef with the West Coast.
Comm’s lines about gangster rap hurting hip-hop culture was interpreted by West Coast gangsta rappers like Ice Cube and West Side Connection as a jab. They responded with “Westside Slaughterhouse.” To this, Common released the deadly “The Bitch in Yoo,” a venomous cut that was considered very uncharacteristic for the usually calm MC.
The beef shocked fans and Common’s lash out at the untouchable Cube helped him gain credibility as a force to be reckoned with. “People started respecting his grind a little bit more because he had heart enough to dis a boss!” remembers West Coast hip-hop staple DJ Quik. “Then you saw Common’s real side,” adds Bonsu Thompson, longtime journalist. “You saw the origins of Common like ‘nah I really do this battle thing.'”
History might just be repeating itself, lyrically at least. “This Common/Drake thing is very reminiscent of the Common/Ice Cube thing,” says Kweli on the recent lyrical sparring of sorts between Common and Drizzy.
Tune in to MTV2 on Sunday, February 19, at 10 p.m. ET/PT to catch “MTV2 Presents: Yo! MTV Raps Classic Cuts,” then watch “Hottest MCs in the Game VII” immediately after at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT before capping the night off with “Sucker Free Certified” at 11 p.m. ET/PT.