Common, Wyclef Jean Latest to Rework Jay-Z’s “Open Letter”
Several rappers have taken Jay-Z's "Open Letter" as an open invitation to remake it as their own.
Common and Wyclef Jean are the latest to revisit Jigga's new cut.
Pitbull reworked the track Sunday; his version was "Open Letter Freestyle."
On Common's "Open Letter Pt. II," the Chicago rapper leaves Jay-Z's initial verse as-is before coming in on the second verse.
At the beginning of his verse, Common compares Jay-Z to Black Panther activist, convicted felon and fugitive Assata Shakur, whom Common says he visited in Cuba.
Shakur fled to Cuba after escaping from prison in 1979 and Jay-Z recently visited the island country with wife Beyoncé, causing a backlash that was at least partial inspiration for Jay-Z's "Open Letter."
Common also had the song "A Song For Assata" on his 2000 album, Like Water For Chocolate. The tune depicted the shootout with New Jersey police that led to Shakur’s arrest and the fallout surrounding her case.
Common also cites controversies he’s endured on "Open Letter Pt. II" before adding, "Might not get invited back to the White House. Still with the Obamas I ride. I meet the President on the South Side."
Common is from the South Side of Chicago and President Obama used to live there.
On "Open Letter" Freestyle, Wyclef Jean makes more dramatic changes to "Open Letter" than Common did.
The rapper-singer-guitarist features a guitar solo near the beginning of the track and sing-raps throughout his version.
Jean reflects on his time with President Bill Clinton, his philanthropic work to benefit his native Haiti and how his life changed once he tried to run for president of the country.