Saturday, July 4, 2009

My album review of Common's "Be" (Originally posted Wednesday, May 25, 2005)

I copped it yesterday evening and I've been listening to it ever since. First and foremost I just have to say I am tired of Kanye West. He's an aiight producer and he's in demand, but lyrically, he's wack. He has no flow and he's just fucking annoying. Don't get me wrong, he has made some good songs and I respect him for it but anyone can speed up a sample and play it over some drums and shit. Anyway, back to "Be".....isn't it amazing how brothas that hook up with Erykah Badu wig out but after they break up with her they come back hard? Common shines on "Be" with the efervescent "Go" which I'm diggin' like vinyl addicts. "Testify" (and other songs) feature the famous sped up sample by Kanye West (thanks KW, we needed more of those). Testify is both clever, funny (imhoa), well written and nicely produced. "Faithful" puts me in the mind of "I used to love her". Both great songs with double meanings (for me anyway). Bilal lays down some really nice vocals on "Faithful", damn I miss him. "The Corner" and "Chi-City" bring the gritty, pretty but ugly side of the Chi out for a stroll down memory lane. Listening to it made me think back on things I saw and heard growing up on the South and North sides of the city. "Love Is" makes me feel sentimental...I wanna play this during the summer while I'm chillin' by 35th Street beach watchin' people watch me. "The Food" is a live duet (can I describe it that way, lol?) of Common and Kanye featured on the Dave Chapelle Show. On this song Com reminds me of Jay-Z for some reason...I dunno, maybe it's just me. Anyway, it's a good song but Kanye annoys me singing the bridge and doing the hook. "Real People" is lyrical food for thought like only Common can serve up. The track makes the gems he's dropping so easy to digest...if I were a smoker lighting a dutch to this would be a plus....mmmm groovy. John Legend drops some nice vocals on "They Say" another feel good, gem dropping, lyrical feast. I love songs like these...they make me think, make me want to be even more pro-active. Kanye ruins the song with his corny ass lyrics, no-flow having self. I'm not a hater, I just ain't jumping on the Kanye bandwagon. "It's Your World (part 1 & 2)" makes me think of the Art of Story Tellin' 1 & 2 by Outkast and several Goodie Mob songs. Just good fucking songs. They inspire nostalgic melancholy but also impart a sense of hope.

Overall, though this is Common's shortest album to date it is incredibly refreshing and reminicsent of a pre-Erykah Badu Common we ain't seen in a minute. My only hope is that the commercialism of Kanye's Tracks and reputation don't detract from the reemergence of one of Chicago's biggest and brightest Hip-Hop (true Hip Hop not rap) greats. "Be" will be a huge commercial success because of Kanye West.

That's my 10 cents. Rest easy y'all.

P.S. For the most part, production on this album is tight. Especially the tracks featuring Jay Dilla (that Detroit playa).

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