NearClassics: Common – Be

4 12 2008

Common’s eighth studio album Universal Mind Control drops this Tuesday. All the joints I’ve heard so far are dope and definitely worth the purchase. With the release less than a week way, this is the most appropriate time to blog about one of my favorite albums, Be.

In 2005, Common dropped Be, his debut release off Kanye’s GOOD Music label. Being on Kanye’s label, the production on his album will be handled mostly by Mr. West himself. Be begins with an immaculate introduction. The Be Intro starts off with an acoustic bass guitar, then various other instruments come together to form one of the best hip hop intros. The Be intro sets the tone of the album; smooth, jazzy instrumentals, meshed with Common’s signature laid back delivery and poetic style of rhyming. For instance, the albums first single “The Corner” features Common dropping lines about things that occur on the corners of urban America. Another example would be “Real People”, where Common raps over a sax driven beat and gives the audience a dose of reality.
While Kanye handled 80% of the albums production, he appears on numerous tracks as well. He can be heard ad-libing the hook on the Chicago anthem “Chi-City”, dropping a full 16 on “They Say”, and also providing the hook on “Go” and “The Food”. Prior to Be dropping, “The Food” received an underground buzz similar to “The Corner”. When it was finally placed on an album, heads wondered why the stuck with the live version performed on Chappelle’s show. Though the live version was placed in the middle of the album, it still maintained the joints vibe and turned out to be one of the best tracks off the album.
In conclusion, Be is one of the best albums of the new millennium. Kanye and Common’s music chemistry is undeniable and helped resurrect Common’s career. The album made up for Electric Circus, Common’s experimental album that wasn’t well received by critics and fans. For new listeners, Be will definitely convert you into a Common fan. For the fans that have been with Common since “I Used to Love HER”, they will greatly appreciate this project.



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