September 26, 2009

Common: 'Obama effect' Steering Rap Away from Rims, Bling

Common politely declines comment on friends Kanye West and Serena Williams

ATLANTA, Georgia - Rims and bling? They’re “super-played out,” Common said, explaining that hip-hop is finding another direction and President Obama is helping point the way. Common spoke of the “Obama effect” before a recent performance in Atlanta during the Hennessy Artistry Series.

The Chicago, Illinois-born rapper/actor, who has appeared in the movies “Wanted” and “American Gangster,” spoke on a variety of topics, including the virtues of playing with live bands such as The Roots, who are co-hosting the series with him.

However, he skirted questions about recent outbursts by rapper Kanye West and tennis star Serena Williams. West is a friend and fellow Chicago rapper who has produced two of Common’s albums, and Williams is reportedly dating Common.

“People that I care about, that I consider being friends of mine, most of the things I discuss with them I wouldn’t discuss in public because it’s a real relationship,” he said. “It’s not a relationship for the public, you know?”

He did, however, spend a few minutes providing a progress report on Obama’s influence on hip-hop. Nine months ago, Common told CNN he believed Obama’s presidency would change the attitudes of many hip-hop artists.

“I think hip-hop artists will have no choice but to talk about different things and more positive things, and try to bring a brighter side to that because, even before Barack, I think people had been tired of hearing the same thing,” he said in December.

On Saturday, Common said he is already seeing signs that Obama is making a mark on a musical genre often vilified because of its focus on drugs, violence and the degradation of women.

Read more from CNN Watch Common perform with The Roots »

Common makes some valid points, but to a certain extent it's just the natural progression and evolution of the hip hop genre and any other kind of musical/artistic expression. "Rims, Tims, and Bling" has just simply become tired commercially. But hip hop, as it stands now, that doesn't glorify drugs, violence and degrade women will not achieve commercial success and will always be on the fringe. Now someone please explain LOL :) -because this kind of garbage always seems to be popular.

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