Kanye’s recent run of controversial comments, which include praising Trump, aligning with right-wing commentator Candace Owens, and suggesting slavery was a “choice,” have been a huge topic of conversation over the last two weeks. Naturally, many artists have been asked for their take on Kanye’s self-described “free-thinking,” whether they have a personal relationship with the rapper or not. The latest entertainer to be stopped by TMZ for his thoughts is actually someone who’s had a long relationship with West, as well as a history of politics that contradict Ye’s recent remarks: Common. The fellow Chicago rapper was willing to share his opinion on the chaos around Kanye’s recent behavior, but ultimately he wants to divert attention to matters he deems more important.
“It’s a lot going on in the world… like black women being dragged out a Waffle House. Black people being shot down in the streets. We got people in the government — the president and others — that are lying and just creating divisiveness,” he said. “So, I think us focusing on tweets and comments when we can really change conditions… I wanna put more energy towards changing the conditions of what’s going on.”
At the end of the day, Common says his views are not going to change the familial type of relationship the two have built through their long history of collaboration. Kanye studied under Common’s main production collaborator No I.D. as a teenager in the early 90s, and went on to produce the majority of Common’s 2005 classic Be. Common released three albums on West’s GOOD Music label.
“No matter what, Kanye is my brother,” he said. “So there’s no beginning to the end… I love him. And I don’t agree with everything he says and everything he’s thinking. But I don’t agree with a lot of things that people I love, but that don’t mean I love them any differently. That don’t mean I won’t say exactly what I need to say to them. That’s what America, and that’s what this world should be about: people being able to express themselves. We don’t have to always agree, but we don’t have to go to war just because we don’t agree.”
Watch the clip above. Common released Black America Again, an album that addressed issues faced by black Americans including police brutality, mass incarceration, and institutionalized racism, in 2014. Listen to it here.