MTV: "The Light" is really doing well. It seems like it's continually building. It's steadily getting loved.
Common: I'm real geeked about "The Light," 'cause I was going throughout the country on this tour, and in each city I was hearing "The Light" getting played on radio stations, and at each show, the crowd is singing the words. That's a feeling I've never experienced before, as far as hearing my stuff in the daytime in Portland and in Seattle and in L.A., all day. And I did a show in L.A., and little girls, little ghetto black girls, just knew me. It felt good, 'cause before, they felt that Common Sense was strictly for the underground audience, but now it has reached a new "Light" level, and now the masses are liking it. The fact that I got to do a song that's uplifting women and the fact that it didn't misrepresent me -- I didn't change my style of music to achieve the success -- it's a blessing. I just thank God.
MTV: Erykah Badu's featured in the video for "The Light," and she also showed up for the New York SpitKicker stop. What's it like working with her?
Common: Erykah's such a beautiful woman and a strong woman that I chose her to represent "The Light," 'cause I think she was the perfect girl to represent that strong, intelligent, cool woman. Working with her is natural, 'cause she's one of my best friends, so we just trippin' out, talking about each other, having fun on the set. At times she was throwing stuff at me while I was rapping. Just having fun, man. Real natural. And she's also featured on this remix for "The Light." It's dope. We expect it to come out once "The Light" peaks and I guess starts goin' down. Hopefully it'll never go down, you know? But eventually it's gonna come out -- probably during the fall.
MTV: How did "The Light" come about?
Common: The original is by Bobby Caldwell. [My version] is produced by Jay Dee from Slum Village, from Detroit. Basically he had a Bobby Caldwell record -- you know, "What You Won't Do For Love" -- he had that record and had the music already there. We started constructing the chorus, and we just scratch just on the chorus; it's not even him singing it live. But respect to Bobby Caldwell, 'cause you got soul, bro.
MTV: Have you talked about what the next single is gonna be?
Common: Yeah, we've been dibblin' and dabblin' with two songs. One, "Ghetto Heaven," features D'Angelo. And the other is "Funky For You" featuring Bilal and Jill Scott. Both of 'em get good response from the DJs. Jay Dee just worked on the remix for me for "Ghetto Heaven," so hopefully I wanna push "Ghetto Heaven" to the people, 'cause it gives another dimension of Common Sense. I hope we can do that.
MTV: You're also working on a group called the Soulquarians.
Common: Yeah, see the Soulquarians is based with ?uestlove, D'Angelo, James Poyser, and Jay Dee, but they call it the Soulquarians Extended Family, which is the crew that I was tellin' you about. Those four brothers, including Erykah Badu, Common Sense, Bilal, and Mos Def, that was the extended family. Along with our extended family goes Dead Prez, De La Soul, a lot of others.
MTV: So is there a project in the works?
Common: Yeah, well, actually we just trying to make sure everybody's album is tight, is groundbreaking, is saying something for music. So right now that's what we're doin', and eventually we're gonna get to a Soulquarians album.
MTV: Not to be confused with the Soultronics.
Common: Yeah, the Soultronics is the band that plays with D'Angelo. It's definitely some of the members, like ?uestlove -- he in the Soultronics and in the Soulquarians. See, Pino is a bass player, a real bad bass player -- Pino Palladino -- and he's in the Soultronics, and though he ain't officially in the Soulquarians, he's in it. We got love for all the artists that's out there just trying to push their music forward. I consider them all family.
MTV: With the success of "Like Water For Chocolate," have you started working on your next project yet?
Common: I've been thinking about what I wanna do next. But I really haven't planned it out. I just know in my heart I wanna take a step forward and grow. I just say, "Yo, it's about time for me to start on the album." But at the same time, I gotta do remixes and make sure I hit the road and keep promoting this album. This album needs to be platinum, so we gonna take it there. Yes, sir.
MTV: You'll be hitting the road again after the SpitKicker tour?
Common: Yeah. Just so people know, Common Sense usually travels with his band A Black Girl Named Becky. It's gonna be live.