Common (124003)

Yes, yes, y’all nite and you don’t stop. To the beat y’all and you don’t stop …”

Nothing conjures up feelings of hip-hop nostalgia more than the Academy Awards. Now on paper, it may not seem believable, but if you heard me say it and saw the posturing, you would have been moved to tears by the emotions with which I delivered the line. To be honest, though, I did have a few thoughts on the whens and whys hip-hop will impact Tinsel Town.

“And I’m a man of expanding, so why should I stand in her way. She probably get her money in LA. And she did, stud. She got big pub, but what was foul? She said that the pro-Black was going out of style … She said Afrocentricity was of the past.”

The past huh? Yeah, let’s go back to the 1990 Academy Awards. A masterpiece was released in the summer of 1989 in “Do the Right Thing” and was virtually swept under the rug. Granted it received two nominations—Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Danny Aiello and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for Spike Lee. Supporters of art couldn’t fathom how a Best Picture nomination wasn’t warranted and how the theme song of the film, Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” did not win, let alone not get a nod. No explanation was needed, though. Politics as usual. But it left us collectively shaking our heads as to what more we could do.

“Talking about popping Glocks, serving rocks and hitting switches. Now she’s a gangsta rolling with gangsta b..@#s.

“Always smoking blunts and getting drunk, telling me sad stories. Now she only messes with the funk.

“Stressing how hardcore and ‘real’ she is. She was really the realest, before she got into showbiz.”

We got a loud and clear answer in 2003, when Eminem won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 75th Academy Awards, for his single “Lose Yourself,” from the soundtrack of “8 Mile.” Thus, he became the first hip-hop artist ever to win an Academy Award. In 2006, the Three Six Mafia took down the same trophy for their single, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” No disrespect to either, but in varying ways, they were the antithesis of who Public Enemy is and what they’re about. It was easy for conspiracy theorist to jump to the conclusions that the look and texture of hip-hops image come from a tainted vantage point.

“They say what’s happenin’? We say the facts and if they lie,

We comin’ back for them. They might say, but they don’t know!”

If it was hard to get the board of the Grammy’s to recognize what truly represents the essence of what good music is, imagine what a chore it is to persuade the committee for the Oscars. In 2002, the film “Brown Sugar” spawned a single that rested atop of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart for a month, reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and won a Grammy for best R&B song in 2003. Nice credentials ain’t it? “Love of My Life” by Erykah Badu and the man of the hour, Common, were monsters to us, but they don’t know.

“Searchin’ for the child in me, this style in me. This release is like the peace that’s now in me.

They tried to ‘sassinate me, God, like Martin on the bal-cony.”

For as dope and accomplished an artist he has been, he may be just as underrated and under-appreciated. But that happens when you arrive at greatness by putting the work in and remaining true. As an EMCEE, actor, EMCEE, author, EMCEE, activist, save for an attempt on his character by glass-house dwellers (N.J. State Police and Fox News among those) casting stones, the hip-hop culture has something in Common—pun intended. In the past few months, his trophy collection has expanded to include the 2014 BET Hip-Hop Awards Impact Track for “Kingdom” and the 2015 Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song. Indisputable facts!

So while all the “Glory” to God, you and John Legend can bask in a little for yourselves. Congrats my dude! Hopefully, your expanded fan base will go to the catalogue to peep game.

Out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.