The rapper explains what he thinks fellow artists can do to preserve Hip Hop culture, including being aware of their lyrics and touring more often.
There has been a long argument over whether Hip Hop is dead. Common has been a steady voice on monitoring the life of the culture and he sat down with Rolling Stone to give 10 Ways to Save Hip Hop.
One of the items from the list, which was originally published in 2003, is for rappers to stop thinking their rhymes don’t have influence on the listeners.
“Words are power,” the Chicago rapper says. “Don’t think you can rap about money and bitches and ho’s and shooting somebody and then make it better by giving ten dollars to somebody in the community. Your words are probably destroying more people than the ten dollars is helping. Your words are affecting the five-year-old riding in the back of their daddy’s car.”
Common also says to “make your music look like your life.”
“We all didn’t grow up in the ghetto,” he says. “And even if you did, there’s more to ghetto life than just violence and sex and getting money — there’s a lot of beauty in the community aspect of it. That needs to be reflected in the music. Most people I know from the ghetto don’t want to glorify ghetto life — ain’t nobody happy to have to sell dope, and most people don’t wanna talk about killing people and violence. As my father used to say, ‘Even gangster dudes go to church.'”
Other advice the “I Used to Love H.E.R.” rapper has for fellow artists is to tour more and to know Hip Hop history. He even suggests a union for artists similar to that for professional athletes.