‘I’m your worst nightmare squared
That’s times two for those not mathematically aware’
: Common feat Canibus

Here comes Common, lording it down the street because he got ten out of ten in his first grade maths test (after obviously repeating it for the last sixteen years). Knowing how many beans make five does not however make you a mathematician. Laplace, Fermat or even Johnny Ball are not quaking in their respective boots. Everyone knows – especially the mathematically aware – Mr Common (first name Clapham?) that something squared is something multiplied by itself. So the problem can be set out like this

2n=n x n: where n is my nightmare. Now while it is unlikely that the letter n is my nightmare it is about as plausible as the solution to this simplest of quadratic equations. The only possible way that my nightmare squared could equally my nightmare times two is if my nightmare was indeed the number two. Which is not a very scary number truth be told. If I was religiously inclined I might find the number 666 a touch scarier. I cannot say I care for the number 1963. All of this assumes that I have to restrict my ultimate fear to the relatively tame world of mathematics. Which is relatively unlikely, eh Common? Spiders, fire, The Pogues and world gin shortages – this is the stuff of nightmares. The combination of spiders made of fire playing old Pogue tracks whilst devouring the worlds total gin output – this would make me start bolt upright. It does not matter how nightmarish Sesame Street gets, there is still a big, camp, yellow bird on it which is scarier.

So I think you will have to concede that Common did not mean that he was assuming that the listeners greatest fear was the number two. Instead we have to walk away with the knowledge that Common believes he is mathematically aware, and yet he squares numbers by multiplying by two. I think we have a perfect example here of pride coming before a very big fall. But wait! Common, and his friend Mr.Canibus (yes you can, and as far away from me as possible), are saying that it is they who are the listener’s worst nightmare squared. And as we have discussed, this can only mean that they are ‘number two’. What polite boys! Of course they actually mean ‘shit’.

(Thanks to Greg Scarth for uncovering this inanity. Suggestions gleefully accepted.)