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Common Defends Drake Against Yasiin Bey’s “Pop Artist” Label

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Common has stepped up to defend Drake after Yasiin Bey likened the Canadian to a “pop” artist. During his appearance on HOT 97’s “Ebro in the Morning,” the Chicago native acknowledged the changing landscape of hip-hop, referencing his own song “I Used to Love H.E.R.” as a commentary on its corporatization. 

“I wrote a song called ‘I Used to Love H.E.R.,’ and that joint was really speaking to when it started becoming real corporate and losing the purity of it. I think now, artists can be artists. Some people, if their intention is to just be a pop artist, then so be it,” he explained at the the 24:57-mark in the video below.

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“To me, I think Drake comes from Hip Hop,” he continued. “When I first heard him rhyming,  I was like, ‘Yo, this dude rhyming.’ And if he goes out and makes songs that are popular, then that’s what it is. He’s still an MC.

The dude is an incredible songwriter. He’s an incredible artist. You can’t touch that many people for as long a time as he’s been doing…. This man has touched different aspects of culture and [has] been able to continue to do it. You gotta have some respect and know that this dude is a very talented artist.”

While defending Drake, Common also showed respect for Yasiin Bey, praising his skills and artistry. 

“Yasiin is a genius, man,” he said. “I’ve been around that dude and watched him as an actor, as an artist, and listened to a lot of his raps, and he is very high level when it comes to poetic rap — not even just poetic rap, but I’m saying he has poetry within his rap. He can style on anything. He can do a lot.”

Yasiin Bey had initially labeled Drake’s music as “pop” during an interview with “The Cutting Room Floor,” suggesting it is “compatible with shopping” at Target. 

“Drake is pop to me,” Bey stated. “In the sense like, if I was in Target in Houston and I heard a Drake song, it feels like a lot of his music is compatible with shopping. Or shopping with an edge, in certain instances.”

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Drake later responded indirectly by using Bey’s on lyrics. 

Watch Common’s full interview with Hot 97 below.

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