Common and Jay-Z "Open Letter II" artwork

Ever since Jay-Z went to Cuba and then got everybody excited from the White House on down excited with his “Open Letter” track, fools have been dropping piggyback freestyles and penning their own “open letters” to sound off about Cuba. But when Common steps up to the podium, the room goes quiet–our man J. Period just shot us this exclusive track of Com going in on the “dagnabbit!” beat for “Open Letter, Part II” with this data attached:

“Common hit me literally this morning to mix this so his team could release this afternoon…”

We all know Com is nice on a freestyle or a battle verse but he’s also one of a very select few MCs who could match Jay toe for toe when it comes to namechecking Presidents and El Patrons. And when Com talks Cuba he ain’t talking Marco Rubio, he’s talking Assata Shakur. Listen:


  • Very nice twist… Still tight with Common for going all the way to Haiti to do a “gritty hood video” when he was in The 1st Black Republic in the Western Hemisphere which is bursting with history, culture combined with the wealth of knowledge Common has he could’ve done a monumental song…… IJS

  • Dream weaver

    Somebody needs to speak to the man Black Thought to come black out on this joint. enough with the pageantry.

  • I need Phonte, Black Thought, Nas and KRS-ONE on this piece.

  • PNYC

    Jay-Z has finally reached the brink of beginning to embarrass himself. It sounds funny to say, after career spanning two decades, but dude is is played out!

    • I completely agree at this point. I feel like hip hop does have an age limit, and that he should start frying other fish, like being a sports agent, raising his daughter, and maybe becoming a philanthropist. Maybe he could actually make history outside of music.

    • What sense does that make? I am grown man and I LOVE hip-hop and I want to hear some topics that’s related to grown man business and not COONERY all the time. What you people miss is that HIP-HOP is an art form and the game is to be told and not sold….

    • So, grown man, tell me exactly what “grown man business” you get from “Open Letter” or any of Jay’s more recent tracks? What “you people” miss is that Hip-Hop is an art form that is BOTH told and sold. If you disagree, read a grown man’s “Decoded” and tell me Jay-Z is not selling Hip-Hop as he is also telling his story. It’s a hustle, pop. All the world…

    • Brutha J

      “I feel like hip hop does have an age limit”, where the message of Open letter is being missed is that we as HipHoppas span a variety of castes and classes. From where we started and the ascension to who we are suppose to become. Where is there a rule that culture has an age limit?…HipHop is a cultural dynamic that varies in region, and in dialect…but it is all in the same direction: Expression. You may not agree, nor like what Jigga has to say anymore, perhaps this is your inability to enhance your world through whatever means. He has caught the attention of millions of Our youth through poetic metaphors and lyrics that read like short stories. As for “Decoded”, this is another form of expression where he allows his audience to delve into the context from which he was inspired, a lyrical biography if you would. Why is this simply about getting paid? Is this any different than”Do You! 12 Laws…”, by Russel Simmons, or “The Gospel of HipHop” by KRS One? More of Our youth need to read and not just nod their heads to this and that, the written word can expand ones possibilities, coupled with the inspiration of lyric…Hip Hop has changed the world, and will continue to do so if we challenge ourselves with intellect, love, and overstanding, not shallow critiques.

    • Downindixie

      What a beautiful and eloquent way to endorse the dumbest
      most stereotypical shyt ever spit on top of a beat in the name of hip hop. Hey Pres., phuck worrying about important things like…..oh, I don’t know…..the economy, gun control, jobs, the poor, terrorist’s threats, foreign policy and being the first African American leader of the Free World. Just hang out at the beach with Jay: An old-ass above average MC who’s STILL talking about the same shyt in his 40’s that he was in his teens. The last drop of objectivity, in hip hop, is officially gone, Son….

    • websnap

      “Hey Pres., phuck worrying about important things like…..oh, I don’t know…..the economy, gun control, jobs, the poor, terrorist’s threats, foreign policy and being the first African American leader of the Free World. Just hang out at the beach with Jay”

      Seriously? That’s what you got from it? Sounded more to me like he’s speaking from a position of knowledge, like he knows what O would rather be doing instead of having to field stupid questions about J going to cuba. Bringing up all the problems facing this country in this context is a straw-man argument. Like anyone would actually say “phuck worrying about important things” to the president, especially someone who knows him.

    • Downindixie

      Dude, you’re giving Jay WAAAAAY too much credit. I guess if you try hard enough, you can find an intellectual thought in a grocery list. Stop trying to make it more than it is….

  • RealTalk

    Joint tight. Yall dont know what the f$ck yall talking about…

  • Blind

    Wow, Deep

  • Karon J.

    How yal turning ya back on Jay? The older I get the less I wanna hear about what the radio talmbout. Give me a new Scarface cd, Redman, Wu, JayZ…HipHop ain’t got an age limit…grown men like myself still listen and we wanna hear grown man hiphop. Yal can have the radio. #rbg