Common reveals his rap idols: Nas and André 3000

A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop
A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop / Frazer Harrison/GettyImages

Common is one of the most respected and influential MCs in hip-hop history, but he still looks up to some of his peers in the game. In a recent interview with Hot 97, he confessed that he wishes he wrote some of the rhymes by Nas and André 3000, two of the greatest lyricists of all time.

Nas: The New York State of mind

Common has always been a fan of Nas, the Queensbridge legend who changed the rap game with his debut album Illmatic in 1994. Common praised Nas for his storytelling skills and his ability to capture the essence of life in New York City. He said:

"I was playing 'New York State of Mind' and one of the greatest lines ever written is, 'Beyond the walls of intelligence life is defined/ I think of crime when I'm in a New York state of mind.' That's one of the most poetic and profound things I ever heard in rap."

Common also expressed his admiration for Nas's latest album King's Disease II, which features collaborations with Eminem, Lauryn Hill, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and more. He said:

"Nas is one of the greatest MCs ever, and he's still doing it at a high level. He's inspiring me to keep going and keep growing as an artist."

André 3000: The OutKast innovator

Common also has a lot of love for André 3000, the Atlanta icon who rose to fame as one half of the duo OutKast. Common said that André 3000 is one of the most creative and original rappers in the industry, and that he often wishes he wrote some of his verses.

"Him [André 3000] and Nas, for me, are the two that I'll be like, 'Damn, I wish I wrote that.' He's just so innovative and fresh with his style and his concepts. He's always pushing the boundaries of hip-hop."

Common also shared his thoughts on André 3000's new instrumental album New Blue Sun, which features him playing the flute over various beats and sounds.

"First of all, it's just great to hear something from André. Of course I wanna hear his raps, but that dude has been such a creator. When I put on that flute album I was like, 'Yo, this joint is dope to me.
Common added that some producers have been contacting him to sample some of the tracks from New Blue Sun and make beats for him to rap over. He said he would love to work with André 3000 again, after collaborating with him on the song "Gettin' Down at the Amphitheater" from his 2002 album Electric Circus.


Common: The hip-hop legend

Not just known for his rap skills, Common extends his talents into acting, writing, activism, and philanthropy. His accolades include an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Golden Globe, recognizing both his musical prowess and social contributions. With 12 studio albums under his belt, his latest release, "A Beautiful Revolution (Pt 2)," debuted in September 2021. On screen, he's graced audiences with his presence in acclaimed films and TV series like "Selma," "The Chi," "The Hate U Give," and numerous others.

Common is a hip-hop legend in his own right, but he still respects and admires his fellow MCs who inspire him to keep making music.

"Hip-hop is a beautiful art form that can touch people's lives in many ways. I'm grateful to be a part of it and to learn from the greats like Nas and André 3000. They are my rap idols, and I hope to honor them with my own rhymes.