Common Reveals Which Iconic Kanye West Beats He Turned Down

BYElias Andrews3.7K Views
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4th Annual "ten" Fashion Show Presented by General Motors - After Party
Common and Kanye West during 4th Annual "ten" Fashion Show Presented by General Motors - After Party in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli)
Com got first dibs on era-defining music.

Common is a legend. He's been around since 1992, and has multiple classics under his best. One of these classics is partially due to Kanye West. Be is a perfect blend of Com's lyricism and West's beats. They were inseparable in the 2000s, but the way the former tells it, he could have had even more West beats during this period. The Chicago rapper recently went on the podcast 7PM In Brooklyn, and rattled off a staggering number of Kanye West demos that he decided to pass on. Some of which went on to be hits for other artists.

In total, Common told the 7PM hosts that he passed on roughly ten West beats during the mid-2000s. It may not sound like a lot, given that West was Mr. "ten beats a day for three summers," but it's the quality of the beats that really struck the hosts. Common turned down "Dreams" and "Wouldn't Get Far," which would go on to become iconic songs for The Game in 2005 and 2006, respectively. The latter was even a single off Game's sophomore album, Doctor's Advocate. Common also passed on the chance to rap over "Heard 'Em Say," which became the opening song on West's 2005 masterpiece, Late Registration.

Common Claimed The Beats Didn't Match His Vision

"The song, 'Heard 'Em Say,' he made that beat for me," the rapper revealed. "It was like, he made that beat, and I was like 'This beat is dope.'" Common explained that he was impressed by the musicality of the beat itself, but felt that it didn't match with the sound he had in mind for Be. He claimed that West then wrote the lyrics to his version of the song (the one we know) in ten minutes flat. "I promise you he wrote that song in ten minutes," Com said. "I sat there and watched this man write this song. He made the beat, and I was just like, 'This is meant for you.'"

Common also threw in "I Wonder" and "Everything I Am" as beats that he passed on. Both turned up on West's 2007 album Graduation. The latter reportedly dated back to the Late Registration sessions, which wasn't previously known. "Everything I Am" is perhaps the most famous example of Com passing on a K. West beat, however.

The controversial rapper even incorporated the decision into the chorus of the song. "Common passed on this beat I made it to a jam," he spit. "But everything I'm not made me everything I am." Given the hits that materialized for The Game, West, and Common, we'd say everybody made out just fine.

About The Author
Elias is a music writer at HotNewHipHop. He joined the site in 2024, and covers a wide range of topics, including pop culture, film, sports, and of course, hip-hop. You can find him publishing work for HNHH from Monday to Friday, especially when it comes to the coverage of new albums and singles. His favorite artists are Andre 3000, MF Doom, pre-808s Kanye West and Tyler, The Creator. He loves L.A. hip-hop but not L.A. sports teams. The first album he ever bought was Big Willie Style by Will Smith, which he maintains is still a pretty good listen.