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The 50 Best Radio Freestyles

50. Kanye West & Common (Sense) "Freestyle Battle" (1996)

Station: WHPK
DJ: Twilite Tone
Best Punchline: "If you was really cold/Why the fuck did Crucial Conflict go gold/And you only sold a hundred copies—to your boys."
Part 1

Part 2


In 1996, Common and Kanye crashed The Twilite Tone's show at the University of Chicago's legendary station, WHPK, for an impromptu on-air freestyle battle. At the time, Kanye was an unsigned artist (as he reminds us several times throughout the battle), whose only claim to fame was placing some beats on an album by local artist Grav.

The fact that Com Sense even gave Kanye the time of day was a big deal. At the time he probably seemed like just an annoying bugaboo to the more established Chicago emcee. Hats off to both artists, as neither spit written verses while lambasting each other on various instrumentals for over ten minutes.

Kanye called Common “Senseless,” and clowned his lack of record sales: “If you was really cold/Why the fuck did Crucial Conflict go gold?/And you only sold a hundred copies—to your boys.” Common dissed Kanye for using the word 'herb' (“Herbs? Nigga we from Chi, we call 'em marks”) and claimed the beats Kanye gave Grav were “bull.” However the award for most hilarious line goes to Kanye, who mocked Com's O.G. nasally high-pitched voice (see “Take It EZ”): “Since you was 'ooh ooh ooh' just way wack.”

Common later admitted to Nardwuar that both emcees were drunk at the time, and that the battle was 100% friendly fire. And as you know, things have been all G.O.O.D between the two ever since.

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