it's the shiznit

news, reviews and banter on r'n'b, hiphop, garage, grime, bassline, soul, electro and house. standard.

Common - Be

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, June 06, 2005

As time goes on, and despite what music is available at the current time, we will always have albums that are looked back upon with great fondness. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin On to the more recent Illmatic and Blueprint albums from Nas and Jay-Z respectively have all stood the test of time, and are just some of the albums that have shaped music’s growth.

Now one of Hip-Hop’s most respected sons can add his offering to that collection.

In a time where Hip-Hop albums are quickly forgotten and stick to the same tired formulae of club smash, ladies joint and filler, Common’s sixth label release is much needed, perhaps not just for Hip-Hop but for the Chicago MC himself.

After the release of the Electric Circus, many had questioned whether Common had fallen off, had the relationship with Erykah Badu really softened the man who had brought us such great social commentary on tracks like Sixth Sense.

In all fairness the album was misunderstood by those who weren’t used to the switch up in style, Common has after all never been afraid to touch on the softer subject of love with classics like, I Used To Love Her, the metaphor speaking ode to Hip-Hop and more recently his biggest hit to date, The Light.

That hit was supposed to escalade Common into the realms of MTV rotation and platinum sales but was never forthcoming, Be however is set to change all that.

The albums first single, The Corner takes it back to the Windy City over a boom-bap driven beat provided by Kanye West, as he reminisces about the Chicago corners that were a part of everyday life. The track is so unlike anything on the radio at the moment and confirmed to us that Common is back with a bang.

The track Go is a more softer affair as Common raps about a particular fantasy over a more R’n’B beat, reminiscent of Musiq Soulchild’s Forthenight. The track Chi-City is as the name suggests about his beloved Chicago and addresses a number of topics on his mind from so many raps about rims/surprised niggas don’t become tyres and I’m back like a chiropract/with b-boy survival rap.

With Kanye West behind 9 of the tracks, Common will become more accessible for listeners who before would have given his CD a miss. But Kanye’s inclusion is no marketing ploy as he provides some of his careers best production and only heightens the anticipation of his soon to drop Late Registration album.

The albums only other producer is J-Dilla, who provides Common with the heart warming Love Is, which samples Marvin Gaye’s God Is Love, and the final track on the album It’s Your World which features the vocals talents of Bilal.

It’s hard to choose a particular track as a highlight as they are all exceptional whether it’s talking about hustling to make ends meet on Food or the John Legend assisted They Say.

With only 11 tracks the focus is on just the best material and won’t leave you wanting to touch the skip button, a nice change from albums that provide too much filler and leave the buyer short-changed.

With artists like Chingy and 50 Cent giving us syrupy love songs, raps about how much money they’ve got and portraying the role of a gangster in a hero like fashion, Common’s words are needed more than ever in the mainstream environment. Loyal fans will love Be and hopefully enough newcomers to Common’s music will pick it up as it’s a bona fide classic.


Post a Comment


Recent Posts