Kristin Braswell, Writer, Producer, Traveler
Posted on December 24, 2012 by K. Braswell on Interviews

Common Puts Down ‘The Torch Of Consciousness’ (NPR)


The Chicago rapper has been in the hip-hop game for almost two decades. He released his debut, Can I Borrow a Dollar?, in 1992, and his ninth album, The Dreamer, The Believer, two weeks ago.

In his latest work, the rapper-actor has not strayed from the themes listeners have come to know him for. It is an album of lyrical prowess, lovelorn tributes and good old-fashioned name-calling. Producer No I.D. makes his mark on the entirety of the album, much like he did on the critically-acclaimed Resurrection — most notably on the hip-hop classic “”

In a phone interview, Common told me he was “inspired to make music that is the essence of hip-hop and to let it be something that goes beyond that.” Going beyond that included letting go of what he called “the torch of consciousness” he often felt he had to carry in his lyrics. Case in point? The fiery wordplay and hard-hitting beat behind the track “Sweet,” which was the focus of our back and forth.

What is one of your favorite tracks on The Dreamer, The Believer, and what was the inspiration behind it?

The song that has been getting the most attention has been “Sweet.” A lot of people are trying to figure out who I’m talking about. There was no one I particularly had in mind, but if you’re offended, then there’s something to be said about how you see yourself.

How would you describe the feel and production of the song?

It’s rough. When No I.D. first played it for me, I just knew it was going to be a problem. We were going through some samples, and when I heard this I just knew I had to go in on it.

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