Common thought: Ice Cube's feud expected to escalate into violence

A look back at the epic feud between Common and Ice Cube
"The Wiz" Broadway Opening Night
"The Wiz" Broadway Opening Night / Jamie McCarthy/GettyImages

Common, the conscious rapper known for his thought-provoking lyrics, found himself embroiled in a heated feud with none other than the legendary Ice Cube. The clash between these two hip-hop heavyweights produced iconic diss tracks that still resonate with fans today. But did you know that Common once feared this beef would escalate into violence?

The origins of the beef

The roots of the Common-Ice Cube feud trace back to the mid-'90s. It all began with a perceived diss in Common’s classic single “I Used to Love H.E.R.” Ice Cube fired back with the hard-hitting Westside Connection track “Westside Slaughterhouse,” and Common responded with the Pete Rock-produced “The B*tch In Yoo.” The lyrical sparring continued, and tensions escalated.

A confrontation in Atlanta

In 1995, things took an unexpected turn when Common and Ice Cube had a face-to-face confrontation in Atlanta. Common recalled the moment during a recent appearance on the podcast 7PM In Brooklyn.

" We had a little confrontation,” he revealed. “And I was like, ‘Man, this might get ugly.’"

The turning point

Three significant factors contributed to closing the chapter on this beef by 1997:

The Deaths of Biggie and 2Pac: The tragic loss of these two rap icons following their own intense battles served as a sobering reminder of the stakes involved in feuds.

Louis Farrakhan’s encouragement: The Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, played a pivotal role in urging Common and Ice Cube to find common ground. The truce eventually took place at the Nation of Islam headquarters in Chicago.

Rappers united: The event brought together rappers from all coasts, including Snoop Dogg, Fat Joe, Mack 10, and Tha Dogg Pound. Common expressed gratitude for Minister Farrakhan and Ice Cube’s willingness to bury the hatchet. Remarkably, Common and Ice Cube have since become close friends, even co-starring in Barbershop: The Next Cut.

Common reflected on the experience, emphasizing that he felt good about keeping the feud within the realm of music.

"Ultimately, I felt good that we kept it on wax,” he noted. “Because they were looking at me like, ‘Oh, Common’s just the backpack dude."

In an industry where beefs often spill over into real-life altercations, Common’s commitment to peaceful resolution stands out. His lyrical prowess and ability to navigate conflict without resorting to violence showcase the power of hip-hop as both an art form and a force for positive change.

So next time you revisit those classic diss tracks, remember the journey that led Common and Ice Cube from confrontation to camaraderie. It’s a testament to the resilience of the genre and the artists who shape it.

Watch the full conversation below