According to the Associated Press, Obama “will celebrate American poetry and prose with a gathering of poets, musicians and artists at the White House next Wednesday night.” One of the poets who will attend is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. who goes by the name “Common.”
It is likely Obama met Common at the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ were both men were members. Several of Wright’s sermons caused a firestorm of controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign due to their caustic, racially charged, anti-American tones. One sermon in particular caused Obama a severe headache – the one in which he blamed America for Osama bin Laden’s terrorist attacks. “America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he said.
Obama at first tried to defend Wright. But when that strategy became untenable, he disavowed him. Not so Common. In fact, Common defended his minister.
“What I picked up from the pews…was messages of love,” Common said at the time. “Anything that was going on against that love he would acknowledge and expose. He’s been a preacher that’s helped raise one of the greatest political figures in the world, and hopefully, the next President. He’s also raised one of the greatest rappers in the world [meaning Common himself].”
In fact, Common rapped at the 2008 New Year celebration at Wright’s church. “I’m gonna let you know / No people want drama / We gonna vote for my man / What’s his name? Obama … Revolution is here,” he sang, and the Rev. Wright danced in the background.
Some of Common’s poetry could also raise some eyebrows among those who might find cop-killing and racially-tinged or misogynist language beneath the Office of the Presidency.
“Tell the law my Uzi weighs a ton … I hold up a peace sign but I carry a gun,” raps Common in one appearance that was posted onto YouTube.It goes beyond those lyrics. "Common" wrote a (c)rap "song" entitled "A Song for Assata" as a tribute to JoAnne Deborah Byron or Assata Shakur, a member of the Black Panther Party / Black Liberation Army. According to Wikipedia:
In May 1973, Shakur was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike, during which New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and BLA member Zayd Malik Shakur were killed and Shakur and Trooper James Harper were wounded. Between 1973 and 1977, Shakur was indicted in relation to six other alleged criminal incidents—charged with murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, bank robbery, and kidnapping—resulting in three acquittals and three dismissals. In 1977, she was convicted of the first-degree murder of Foerster and of seven other felonies related to the shootout.Common the (c)rapper wrote his tribute to Shakur after going to Havana to meet her personally.
Shakur was then incarcerated in several prisons, where her treatment drew criticism from some human rights groups. She escaped from prison in 1979 and has been living in Cuba in political asylum since 1984. Since May 2, 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has classified her as a "domestic terrorist" and offered a $1 million reward for assistance in her capture.
Some of Common's other lyrics include these catchy phrases:
"'My style is similar to AIDS, you can F with it now but catch you later'"And Barack Hussein Obama thinks this (c)rapper who writes racist, misogynistic lyrics and odes to cop-killing, domestic terrorists is worthy of a White House honor?
"At one point in rhyme I thought I lost my erection/But then I got it back with the Resurrection"
"Bitches ask why my britches sag/I ask the bitches, 'Why your titties saggin?'"
"If poetry was pussy I'd be sunshine/cause I deliver like the Sun-Times"
"I heard a hoe say you her favorite rapper/So I had to slap her"
"What you rapping for? To get fame? To get rich? I slap a nigga like you, and tell 'em 'Rick James, bitch!'"