“And fuck Bush,” Common proclaimed at the end of a sick freestyle at the Fillmore Auditorium on September 13 -- and the crowd went nuts. His flow touched on everything from gang-banging to economic standing before he walked the crowd through a melodic hip-hop history in which he covered everyone from Public Enemy and the Pharcyde to N.W.A. and A Tribe Called Quest.
The night started off with a bang when Blackalicious warmed the stage up for Common, who bounced around all night long, stopping just for a second to sit down and spit romance lyrics to one lucky girl in the crowd who was celebrating a birthday.
Common covered a track off of Kanye West’s first album and wasn’t shy to plug Mr. West’s new album, encouraging everyone to pick up Graduation instead of 50 Cent’s latest.
Toward the end of the night, Common introduced a guest speaker, an older gentleman in a white suit with Air Jordan sneakers circa 1984: Lonnie Lynn, his father, who lives in Denver and has appeared on most of Common's CDs, including his latest, Finding Forever. Quite a few members of the crowd didn't seem to know who Lynn was, but they listened to him respectfully -- and when he handed back the microphone, Common rewarded them with a series of personalized shout-outs to to the 16th St. Mall, Carmelo Anthony and Park Hill. Then he reeled off a list of names, complete with a single-word description he felt fit all of them:
“Darrent Williams,” Common told the crowd. “Misunderstood.”
“Tupac Shakur. Misunderstood.”
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“Michael Vick. Misunderstood.”
“Malcolm X. Misunderstood.”
But Common’s point was not misunderstood. -- Luke Turf