Conservatives decry White House invite to rapper Common

Washington Bureau

Outrage alert: Some conservatives have a beef with Michelle Obama’s invitation to a rapper who once called for the “burn”-ing of George W. Bush to perform this week at White House event.

Hip-hop artist Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., a Chicago native who goes by the name Common, will be part of a poetry program Wednesday night. President Obama is expected to attend.

The Daily Caller, a conservative news site launched by Tucker Carlson, has helped spearhead the controversy over the rapper. (And this marks the only time “Tucker Carlson” and “rapper” have ever appeared in the same sentence.) The site reprinted lyrics from one Common work, “A Letter to the Law” in which he says his “Uzi weighs a ton” and keying on the following passage:


No time for that, because there’s things to be done

Stay true to what I do so the youth dream come

from project building

Seeing a fiend being hung

With that happening, why they messing with Saddam?

Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button

Killing over oil and grease

no weapons of destruction

How can we follow a leader when this a corrupt one

The government’s a g-unit and they might buck young black people

Black people in the urban area one

I hold up a peace sign, but I carry a gun.

Sarah Palin jumped on the bandwagon, tweeting the Daily Caller story with a comment “Oh, lovely White House” — the virtual equivalent of rolling her eyes.

Pajamas Media, another conservative site, says Common supports Mumia Abu Jamal, convicted in the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer, and was a member, along with the Obamas, of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Rev. Jeremiah Wright served as pastor. The rapper defended Wright during the 2008 campaign as Obama distanced himself from the controversial minister. The video below shows Wright in the background as Common performs.

A Fox News site called the multiple Grammy-winner a “vile rapper.” Common, who has also acted in several films, including “American Gangster” and “Terminator Salvation,” also performed at a 2009 inaugural ball. (The latter creates one degree of separation from Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

The White House did not immediately comment. Common appeared to take the whole thing in stride, tweeting, “So apparently Sarah Palin and Fox News doesn’t like me.”

Anyone remember Sister Souljah?

twitter: @jamesoliphant

Here’s “A Letter to the Law” Here’s Common performing with Jeremiah Wright in the background: