Hip-hop simply wouldn’t be hip-hop without a bit of competition, and occasionally, artists end up clashing over who is number one. However, sometimes MCs disagree over political views and moral standpoints, and the latter is precisely the case of Common vs Ice Cube.
Common was one of Chicago’s first success stories. Known for his lyrical ability and extremely conscious lyrics, he is also renowned for having a very soulful and jazz-inspired type of sonic. The rapper (Lonnie Lynn) is also a known poet. However, his love for philosophical, conscious, and afro-centric hip-hop meant he disliked gangsta rap and let it be known.
On his 1994 track, ‘I Used to Love H.E.R.’, Lynn addressed the decline of hip-hop since the emergence of gangsta rap. Likening rap to a girl, Lynn stated, “Now she be in the burbs, lookin’ rock and dressin’ hippie / And on some dumb shit when she comes to the city / Talkin’ about poppin’ Glocks, servin’ rocks and hittin’ switches / Now she’s a gangsta rollin’ with gangsta bitches.”
Ice Cube, one of gangsta rap’s forefathers, heard this and didn’t take kindly to it as Common was suggesting that individuals like himself were contributing to the devolution of hip-hop. As such, he responded on Mack 10’s track, ‘Westside Slaughterhouse’.
On the track, he references Lynn’s song, rapping, “All you suckas wanna diss the Pacific / But you busta niggas never get specific / Used to Love H.E.R., mad ‘cause we fucked a / Pussy-whipped BITCH with no Common Sense!” However, this prompted Common to respond.
On his 1997 album, One Day It’ll All Make Sense, Lynn released his response ‘The Bitch in Yoo’ on which he raps, “A bitch n*gga with an attitude named Cube Stepped to the Com’ with a feud / Now, what the FUCK I look like dissin’ a whole coast? / You ain’t made shit dope since AmeriKKKa’s Most.” Although it looked like a conscious vs gangsta rap beef was brewing, Cube and Common came together at Chicago’s Nation of Islam Headquarters in 1998 to put an end to the disagreements.
In an interview with fellow conscious rapper, Brooklyn emcee Talib Kweli, Common explained how the feud came about and how the two artists civilly put an end to it. You can watch the interview below.