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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Common has always been an enigma within the hip-hop community. He is armed with a gruff, imposing rhyming style which is usually indicative of a classic rap bravada. People spitting rhymes about weapons, money and women. But Common has always s hied away from these subjects. Instead he has become an intellectual student of life and love, often focusing on the struggles of street life and songs about romancing women and lamenting the “one who got away.” Worthy subjects, but not ones that play to his strengths.

Throughout his career he has struggled to find the perfect blend of style and substance. Most notably his last CD, “Electric Circus” had all the marks of an emcee confused by his place in the music world. A blend of Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Funkadellic, “Circus” was a deeply flawed but heartfelt misfire.

Fortunately with his newest release, “BE,” Common, with an assist from Kanye West, has found a match made in heaven as two of Chicago’s top emcees join forces to deliver the first great album of 2005.

Even the title of the album is indicative of where Common finds himself. In a career of unfulfilled promises and unfocused talents, he finally has find his comfort zone. He’s just allowing himself to ‘BE’ himself.

Common’s lyrics are tight, powerful and evocative and West delivers his usual techno pop soul cohesion. This fusion of chart topping pop beats with underground style reflection give Common the confidence in himself (and his producer) to take the album further than anything he’s delivered in the past.

From the intro we are treated to a slow methodical bass line that eventually evolves into a soulful pop instrumentation as Common announces his intentions to be as free as Malcom and Coltrane and to expose the listener into the world of inner-city America.

Indeed, great hip-hop music usually finds a way to weave the complicated tapestry of the contradictory nature of inner city life. Common does this masterfully in songs like “The Corner” where he depicts the ghetto street corners as a haven to be celebrated and also a place that is being desecrated by crime and drugs.

Or in “Real People” where he talks about the struggles of growing up in the environment of a rundown city where he says, “A lesson we all speak at one point or another / Whatchu expect from one who smoke a joint with his mother / Anointed hustlers in a fatherless region / Through the pain wish they know that God was just teachin’.”

The album is full of tracks that document life, not just from his perspective, but from many perspectives. He tries to shed light on street life as it really is.

Through 11 tracks there is an intense focus and musical freedom that come together into a great record. Whether talking about city life, mourning the state of hip-hop or talking about an ex-flame Common has never been better than now.

Finally his introspection and vocal veracity have come together in perfect harmony thanks to hip-hop Golden Boy and fellow Chi-town resident, Kanye West.

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