Details: You're releasing your ninth album this year. As rap increasingly celebrates up-and-comers, do you ever feel overlooked?
Common: I think that's human nature. A man may be married and love his wife, but when he sees all these other sexy women, he wants to feel that newness for a second. But when it's really true love, he comes back to his wife. It's like when you get a taste of that home-cooked meal—"Oh, man, I forgot how good it was."

Details: Your brand of hip-hop has always had a certain vulnerability, even when others were focusing on who had the most money and the biggest guns.
Common: It's important that you can talk about being afraid or finding out who God is for you or having your heart broke or, you know, just being scared of not having enough money. Because, man, there's more people like that than there are people that just got the Lamborghini with the suicide doors.

Details: You were invited to read poetry at the White House. As a vocal Obama-campaign supporter, are you at all disappointed by his presidency?
Common: I didn't put my hope only in a political agenda. I'm also looking at what Obama inspires and brings out of people. As soon as I arrived in Canada [to film AMC's Hell on Wheels], a lot of the older white guys on set were like, "Yeah, we just love Obama, man." It's a bridge we had. As far as the political things go, man, that's what politics is all about. From the hole that was dug, I didn't expect us to be at the sky yet. We have to get to sea level and then start moving up.

Details: How did you feel about Fox News using your visit as an excuse to describe you as a "vile rapper" who supports killing cops?
Common: I understood the crossfire I was caught up in. Politics is politics, and people in politics will utilize whatever they can to bring down their opposition. I was just grateful to be invited to be a part of that event. Do I feel bad that this was the first impression some people had of me? No, because those people will eventually learn who I really am. I don't feel I have to try and convince people I'm a good guy.

Details: What's the goofiest lyric you've ever rapped?
Common: [Rapping] "Big Mac, Filet-o-Fish, Quarter Pounder, french fries, icy Coke, thick shake, sundaes, and apple pies." I mean, that's not conscious rap. Everything I do doesn't have to be conscious.

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