Common – Real People (Live on Letterman in 2005)

Ten years ago this past Tuesday, Common released his greatest record, Be. It’s an album about Chicago through the vision of one man’s eyes. And it’s also an album about living – taking to time to just be. Living in the present, as they say.

We’re going to live in the past for a moment, though, with this performance of “Real People” from Be on David Letterman back in 2005. Common has a full band with him, including a horn section. At the end of the performance, when Dave is walking out and thanking/congratulating Common and the band, he says to the trumpet player, “What is that… a trumpet?” And then laughs.

“Real People” is another track off of Be that shows Common’s great skill as a rapper. His verses are poetic, insightful, and tell a story your brain wants to follow. These lines are as relevant as they were 10 years ago. Perhaps even more relevant:

“I wonder is the spirits of Bob Marley and Haile Selassie / Watch me as the cops be tryna pop and lock me / They cocky, plus they mentality is Nazi / The way they treat blacks I wanna snap like paparazzi”

Telling the story 10 years before major media even started to pick up on it this time around.