Common and Drake have been exchanging shots at one another over the past few weeks, with the former most recently releasing a scathing diss remix to Rick Ross’ “Stay Schemin.” Speaking with Sirius Hip-Hop Nation last night, the Chicago, Illinois native said that the battle is not because Drizzy was hanging out with his ex-girlfriend Serena Williams, but more because he took it to the next level.

“Well, the song ‘Sweet,’ for me, was a song where I was really talking about Hip Hop. A lot of the softer side of Hip Hop is just being the example of what people think Hip Hop is. To me, you can express yourself in many different ways, but I was just missing that hardcore Hip Hop, that raw Hip Hop sound, and I was just talking about it. I was saying, man, the song ‘Sweet’ was cats out there doing sweet music. Dude must have took offense to it, so he came out and said some things, and once he said something on record, I said something on record.”

Common asserts that he did not intend to specifically diss Drake, but once he responded in concert, the floodgates opened.

“That was the first thing that he responded and said something. I was like, well, I wasn’t trying to address you specifically, but if you feel like you are that person and if you’re addressing this to me, then I have to address you back,” he continued. “But my whole mentality was that I’m doing this for Hip Hop music. I’m not trying to bring somebody down. At the end of the day, I just expressed what I felt about Hip Hop. And I’ma keep it on that level, just as an emcee. That’s how I battle. I don’t try to battle any other way than emceeing.”

Contrary to rumors on the Internet, the battle is not over Com’s ex-girlfriend Serena Williams. Though Drake was spotted with her following their breakup, Common maintains that it’s all because the Young Money rapper fired back.

“We know that things can get like that, but that’s not what we want for the culture, for ourselves as men. I think we learned enough from those days to be like, OK, if you’re going to challenge me as an artist, an emcee, I’ma let you know who I am.

You just gotta know what you in it for. I got in this because it’s Hip Hop. I was speaking up on the song ‘Sweet’ about, over and over we’re hearing a lot of singing. I listen to R&B, I listen to good R&B and soul music, so I’m not opposed to singing. I’ma be frank about that. But I just spoke up for the art of Hip Hop and what I feel about it, and I want everybody to know that Hip Hop is a diverse culture and it does have that boom bap to it too. Once he said something back, that’s when I said, aight, I guess you want to get in a battle with me. And if that’s what you want, then I’ll battle.”

Listen to the full interview below (via RR).

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