To celebrate the release of Common's latest film, here's an excerpt from his classic cover feature with us plus some unseen photographs from Sarah J. Edwards' shoot.
COMMON’S TIGHT SPOTS
Interview by Sally A. Edwards
Photography by Sarah J. Edwards
The issue’s theme is Improvise. So we wanted to put you in some possibly uncomfortable situations and get you to freestyle your way out. Do you ever use the expression about being in a tight spot?
So this is Common’s Tight Spots. You’re late for a flight and you’ve got to try and sweet talk the ladies at the check-in desk.
“Yo Miss/Miss how you doing? How you feeling tonight?/You gotta understand really I gotta make this flight/Yeah yeah really I want to go to Chicago/That’s where I’m from plus later on I got a show/Yo it’s like this/Yo please don’t give me hell and I’m telling you I got a show and it’s really before 12/Yeah yeah that’s my name, yeah my last name is Lynn and I’m telling you I gotta land at least by 10/Miss understand, I ain’t trying to act all dumb/Yeah I’m a rapper, but wait where d’you tell me you’re from?/Oh yeah you look beautiful like you’re mixed, maybe from Belize or something like that yeah anyway you go I believe ya/So you should believe me and understand I’m just a nice dude/And I ain’t even trying to sit up here and act with an attitude/But what happened is somebody told me the wrong airport and now I’m right here that’s what happened/ When I was late I thought that I would get here on time/I left early enough and you see Miss I ain’t even trying to talk that crazy stuff/I’m one of them brothers you ain’t heard my song call ‘The Light’/I’m one of them people that be trying to bring hip hop to its right place/Come on Miss look me in the face and understand it/I’m the man that didn’t even try to plan that it would be like this, but I’ma tell you why I need this... Argh! I got stuck!
“But Miss ain’t no disrespecting I’ve only got one or two bags to check in/No not even that I could just carry-on and understand a couple of these bags would be carry-on.” [laughs]
“Do you know what?” Sarah laughs. “You forgot to say please.”
“Yo, yo, yo yeah! So look understand I told you Miss I think you from Belize/Oh excuse me for being disrespectful I meant to say please and thank you because I know you going to hook me up/But let before this verse pass after you hook me up/You know I got to get upgraded to first class.”
“Ok, so Miss...”
Has she not let you on the flight yet?
“So yo Miss...”
You’re still talking to her? She hasn’t let you on the flight yet?
“No she hasn’t let me on yet. So... Look Miss alright just one bag you can tag it/And then after that we gonna keep on blagging/Cos I’ma understand that you know I’m part of this black market/And you should send me to the lounge that they call the red carpet/So I can sit up there for a second I know I ain’t got that much time to check-in/Yo I usually ain’t late, but understand the date is the 13th and that was my birthday/And I ain’t even had the worst day/It’s been a good day so can you make it much better/Oh you tell me the plane is running late because of the weather? Yeah that’s good I’ma make it.”
[I pretend to be asleep.]
“Hey, yo I just did a whole story! That was a whole story. Look I can go on... I put her to sleep. You sleeping on my raps and starting to snore... Yo, I was busting an ill freestyle and she’s just gonna fall asleep on me.”
I was being the lady on the check-in. I was acting. Did you see that? That was acting.
“Well, you’re acting was good, but maybe it could get better/Maybe you should go get classes from Greta Seacat!” [laughs]