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Commentary: Drake, Common make weak showing while trading blows in rap battle

Photos courtesy of MCT

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There have been several lackluster attempts at recreating the “hip-hop beef” of late — I’m looking at you, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne — but this new exchange between rappers Drake (Aubrey Graham) and Common (Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr.) might be the best try at it yet.

On the surface, this one might seem weak, too, considering neither Drake nor Common are particularly hard rappers, especially next to Tupac and Biggie. Still, that doesn’t mean it can’t provide entertainment value.

After hearing Common’s diss directed toward Drake Monday, that’s exactly what we got.

The Drake-Common beef stems back to a track from Common’s latest album, “The Dreamer/The Believer,” called “Sweet,” in which Common took some subtle jabs at the Canadian-born rapper.

Drake retorted, and in a feature on “Stay Schemin’,” a track on Rick Ross’ mixtape called “Rich Forever,” told Common, “I just ask that when you see me, you speak up ni–a that’s all / Don’t be ducking like you never wanted nothing.”

And back comes Common, who released his own remix of “Stay Schemin'” Monday, in which he delivers a deathblow to Drake, saying “You ain’t wet nobody n—a, you Canada Dry.”

“Canada Dry.” I laughed heartily out loud at that.

Another edge to Common: Common specifically comes at Drake, following up his verse by saying, “Make no mistake, I’m talking to Drake.” Drake never mentioned Common in his verse, and thus Common gets another point for avoiding taking jabs subliminally.

Drake fans have countered, saying that regardless of what Common said here, he’s still older than Drake and sells fewer albums than Drake. Last I checked, neither of those reflect quality whatsoever.

I will confess I’ve never been a huge fan of Drake — his voice is grating, his corny schtick is a wonky one, juxtaposed with his Young Money compatriots, and, to put it simply, “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” That said, Drake entered the ring with a legend and got KO’d.

Common, who I admit isn’t quite as illustrious as other hip-hop mainstays such as Jay-Z, has still established himself as one of the genre’s greatest lyricists over the past decade. Drake isn’t there yet. Sure, Drake can sell boatloads of albums, but he plays a different game than Common, one that isn’t particularly well-suited to win battles.

That’s not to say Common is the perfect man to engage in a diss-war as he’s not exactly a hard-edged rapper, either. “The Dreamer/The Believer” is a prime example of that, but that’s not a slight by any means, as it still features Common’s silky flow and sparkling production.

To put it simply: Drake and Common have their niche. Beefs aren’t that niche, but I respect them for trying something new, even if I think Common got the best of Drake.

I feel bad laughing at this rap battle, I really do. Both parties are taking it seriously and good for them for branching out. That said, this will never blossom into Tupac-Biggie, and that’s probably a good thing because then it would just become a laughable front. In the meantime, if it continues to result in getting verses calling Drake “Canada Dry” then I have no problem sitting back and taking it all in.

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