It’s good to get back to that ol’ thang again. It used to be that a rapper would need beef to push albums, because their talent was that questionable, or they just needed a whole lot of manufactured attention. But when you get MC’s the caliber of Common and Drake, well it’s a whole ‘nother story. Their quality of music has put them at the highest points of the game, so to hear Common throw out the first overture, “He opened his mouth and said some things…if that’s what he want, say it!” And further, “It’s just about MC’n, and once you step in there, you in the ring, baby!” You know what that means — LET’S PLAY THE FEUD!!
There is no better arena or forum to hold this battle than The Congenial Hour. While I hold hometown ties to Chicago, I’m big fans of both Common AND Drake. So without any further ado, one more time, *Michael Buffer voice* LET’S GET READY TO RUUUUUMMMMBBBBBLLLLLLLLEEEEEEE!!!!!
*both rappers come together and touch mics*
Drake — “Drink up, cuz everyone here is good tonight/Except for the n****s I came with, they good for LIFE.” — Lyrics from “Thank Me Now”
Common — “Come from a tribe of bums, hooked on [El Cordon] Negro and Mumm’s/Had to halt with the, malt liquor/Cause off the malt liquor, I fought n****s, now my speech and thoughts quicker.” — Lyrics from “Resurrection”
Judges: Drake takes the round for better drinking amongst all the #crewlove.
Drake, his given middle name, shares the same name with a brand of sherries. His surname is the same as a brand of port that I enjoy. There is a type of beer termed California common beer, which includes Anchor Steam Beer, one of the few beers I’ve ever tasted.
Judges: Round goes to Drake. Fortified wines FTW.
Judges: Common. Nas said dark > clear.
Judges: Common might win this round if Carrie Nation was one of the judges, but around these parts? Drizzy takes another one.
That Drake t-shirt also comes in white.
Judges: Sorry, Common. #wehadto
Drake — “What have I learned since getting richer?/I learned working with the negatives could make for better pictures/I learned Hennessy and enemies is one hell of a mixture.” — Lyrics from “HYFR”
Common — “Behind the V, I took my first shot of Henny/It hit me in the chest like when them marks shot Benji.” — Lyrics from “Reminding Me (of Sef)”
Judges: Common takes the round, and the battle over the better Hennessy lyric, for the nostalgia effect.
Drake is from Toronto b/w Memphis. Common is from Chicago.
Judges: Round goes to Big Illinois. We from the go and don’t stop. #ihadto
Drake’s home country is known for pretty good whisky — Canadian Club, Crown Royal, Windsor Canadian, Spicebox Whisky, among others. Common’s home city has produced Few Spirits, which makes a gin with hops, and Koval Distillery, which has a line of quality, organic whiskies and liqueurs.
Judges: Canada ain’t Bourbon Country. One more round to the home team!
Drake — “I need you right now, are you down to listen to me?/Too many drinks have been given to me…” — Lyrics from “Marvin’s Room”
Common — “They say signs of the end is near/I wonder can I walk a righteous path holding a beer…” — Lyrics from “Resurrection”
Judges: No one does introspective emo-rap like Drizzy.
Drake — “I’m trying to let go of the past/Should we make this one a double? You ain’t even got to ask, ahhh!/Cuz it’s hard to say no, say no…” — Lyrics from “We’ll Be Fine”
Common — “Get my drink on like a coaster.” — Lyrics from “Sweet”
Judges: Though that was the song that sparked this salvo between the two, no one has lyrics of drinking culture like Drake. And that line from Common was a bit meh.
Final Round 12:
Drake’s drinking partner, Lil’ Wayne, has been seen OFTEN with cups of that purple stuff — Sprite and cough syrup. Common’s drinking partner, Kanye West, was seen taking shots of the HennDog straight out the bottle — at an awards show.
Judges: Common’s wingman will drink you under the table.
And in a close decision, Common wins. What? Drake won more rounds? Hey, if you wanna win, you got to knock the guy out — don’t let it get to the scorecards. THIS IS HIP HOP!!
Hip hop “heads” often speak of the four pillars of the culture — b-boying, emceeing, deejaying, and graffiti writing. While the emcee has not only taken over hip hop music, it has made a notable impact upon drinking culture, but other pillars have also made their presence felt.
The DJ, akin to the good person behind the bar, is known to control the crowd and let his hands do the talking. With many ingredients at their disposal, each has to decide what precise mix will win over their patrons and ratchet the night up another notch. Smirnoff has produced a DJ competition, “Master of the Mix”, that pits already-famous DJ’s against one another for the title, while Smirnoff stands idly by and hosts a “massive vodka tasting event” and offers the winner a personalized labeled bottle of Smirnoff. Because what better way to build brand recognition is there than to go straight to Las Vegas and throw vodka at countless wild partygoers in the nightclub? And shouldn’t your special bottle be held high in plain sight of everyone, when those same partygoers are dancing and, in the words of Loso — in case you ain’t no so — standing on the couches like their moms ain’t teach them no manners?
Speaking of bottles, the label is muy importante — the visual is often the first thing people notice, so the artistic execution must be on point. If you’re a spirits producer, wouldn’t it behoove you to hire an artist for that reason? That’s exactly what Hennessy did, through a collaboration with graf artist/toymaker/fashion designer/cartoonist/graphic-visual designer extraordinaire KAWS. If there was any spirit that took on such a reworking of their bottle design, it would not seem that a cognac company would be at the top of the list, nor one with the prestige of Hennessy. The colors of the bottle and overall design almost seem fit for a Caribbean rum packaging, but the French grapes inside it don’t disappoint. KAWS also has a collaboration with beer producer Dos Equis — that seems as obvious an opportunity as any, as their name and branding are synonymous with the artistic symbols of two X’s that KAWS uses in many of his pieces, if not all.
All of us can let our inner graf writer create. Just throw your favorite spirit, a sweetener, maybe a little juice, and some bitters in this graffiti shaker and let it do what it do. But don’t add any carbonated beverages until afterwards; the spray that comes from the can is good for the TATS Crew, but it’ll take you a little while to clean that “graffiti cocktail” off your walls and floor!