By Nadeska Alexis
Over the past 72 hours, the tension that’s been building between Drake and Common since December finally peaked, thanks to Common’s retaliatory lines on “Stay Schemin (Remix).” Leaving his target’s verse on Rick Ross’ original song intact, Common delivers his blow, boldly calling Drake out by name, leaving no more room for “subliminal shots.” The gauntlet has officially been thrown and now Drake makes the decision to let it all rest, or dive in headfirst. For Common--who quieted Ice Cube's talk of him being a “soft” rapper in 1996 on “The Bitch In Yoo”--the battle is just a natural part of the game. “It’s just about MCing and once you step in there, you’re in the ring baby," Common says. “Especially if you’re gonna say ‘I’m the champion.’” Check out the timeline of Common and Drake’s beef.
“Sweet” was the third single from Common’s ninth album The Dreamer/The Believer and a few lines on the track immediately jumped out ("Singing all around me man, la la la/You ain’t mutha----ing Frank Sinatra"), prompting questions and rumors about whether he was specifically calling Drake "soft" on the track.
Drake responds to Common’s comment during a live show.
During a December show in Las Vegas, Drake reportedly responded to Common’s verses and his interviews, saying, "I might sing, but I ain't no bitch. If Common got something to say, say it to my face."
After initially dodging a few questions about where exactly those shots on “Sweet” were aimed, Common finally gave a direct answer during an interview on "Sway in the Morning," referencing Drake’s reaction to “Sweet.” “He opened his mouth and said some things, so if that’s what he want—all that subliminal [talk]…you could do that too, but say it now," Common said. "The verse is about me but when you hear some of the stuff on the chorus it’s like you can’t help but think about dude and I guess that’s what he felt. So at the end of day he fits in that category, he already embraced it, so wear it.”
40 on Common calling Drake “soft”: @common, I remember being called a bitch in grade 9 cause I had your cd. Good thing I also had 456 by kool g rap on me. Now that's real After "one day it'll all make sense" came out I spent months arguing weather or not @common was hip hop. Everyone was saying it was too rnb. I'm not dissing, just facts. I love common. I also love swv and John b.” 40's tweets triggered a response from Q-Tip, who urged 40 to keep it light and not disrespect Common.
Up until this point Drake had remained relatively quite on the “beef” but when Ross dropped his anticipated Rich Forever mixtape, Drake used the track “Stay Schemin’” to direct a verse at Common, spitting, “It’s feeling like rap changed, it was a time it was rugged/Back when if a ni--a reached it was for the weapon, nowadays ni--as reach just to sell their record."
Common’s swift response to Drake on “Stay Schemin’ (Remix)” officially made this the first legitimate rap battle of 2012. After going back-and-forth for a few weeks, Common specifically called Drake out by name--in addition to calling him Canada Dry--making it impossible for the Young Money rapper to ignore him.
Geto Boys frontman Scarface addressed the clash on Twitter, commenting on the negativity that surrounds rap battles--“There is a certain level of respect all men have to have for one another any form of disrespect means you are prepared to DIE #f--karapbeef"--which prompted a retweet from Rick Ross. The Weeknd, on the other hand, clearly took sides, writing: “That was the worst comeback ive ever heard,” he wrote. “Reminds me of someone’s drunk uncle."
During a radio interview, Birdman responded to a question about his position on the beef. He was clear in stating that Young Money isn’t in the business of profiting from diss records, but he also vowed to support Drake in whatever way he needed. “Drake the homie so we ride or die, ain’t no second questions about that, but we’ve never been a brand to make records and want to make money off of making records off other people, that’s not what we bout,” he said. “So to me, however the young homie deal with it, we behind him, we supporting him 100 percent with our life, so that’s just what it is.”