“My heroes are Muhammad Ali, Dr. King, Dr. Maya Angelou, [poet and activist] Dr. Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin. And musically, it’s Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, KRS-One and Public Enemy, up to Kendrick [Lamar] now,” Common said to C magazine. “They all provided music that became soundtracks to a movement. And for me to be included in that, to have songs that mean something to people, I’ve got to say, man, it’s an honor.”
The Like Water for Chocolate rapper then discussed August Greene, referring to Glasper as “the Herbie Hancock of the new generation,” and the importance of the group covering Sounds of Blackness’ “Optimistic.”
“I felt that 2017 was really tough on a lot of people,” Common said. “Coming in to 2018, I felt we needed a manifesto of optimism.”
Common also talked about his friendship with Kanye West, saying that he’s known The Life of Pablo rapper since they were teens.
“I’ve known him since he was 19 — he was always speaking out. Some of my friends wanted to fight him,” he said . “I always admired him. There’s courage — honesty there, instead of being politically correct.”
Awhile ago, Common and Glasper voiced their support of a statue of J Dilla being built in Detroit. The request was made through the Black Monuments Project, an endeavor that imagines statues of notable black figures replacing Confederate statues across the country.
Read the rest of Common’s interview with C magazine here.