Every album Common puts out, I keep noticing how high his rhyme skills are getting. With his signuature use of old blues and funk samples, and on-the-corner-chillin beats, he is always a welcome addition to my library. This week, he released his 9th (yeah, he has that many) album, The Dreamer/The Believer. While the Chi hero has the likes of the mighty Nas and the national treasure, Maya Angelou in his feature list, I didn’t feel like the BARF review was necessary. With that being said, let’s get into my favorites, yeah?
I know a lot of people were mad that Common sampled this song, but Blue Sky is a great track. Most people pretend to know who Electric Light Orchestra is (creators of the original song, Mr. Blue Sky), but truth be told, ELO is probably happy to hear their song sampled over a song with generally positive lyrics, and music video. Check it out below:
A classic Chi Town beat, with a beautiful chorus and 70’s movie string arrangements, track five is Gold. I envision Common, rhyming a documentary, riding through his old south side Chicago neighborhood. This song is also a great example of Common’s unique timing and delivery. He’s always managed to stay on the beat while seemingly behind it at the same time.
Overall, the best track on the album is track eleven, The Believer. John Legend opens it up with his powerful piano and vocal skills. Once the beat kicks in, I found it tough not to love the lyrical timing and content of Common’s latest masterpiece. Here’s a bit of the first verse:
These are the words of a believer, achiever, leader of the globe Feeding souls of those in need I bleed the blood of the struggle Walking over troubled puddles Hustles in my chest, no hustle no progress Extremities of life and it’s process Birth of a son, death of another With love I can rest both mothers And told ‘em, who’s in control is the one that’s above us I walk where money talks and love stutters Body language of a nation going through changes
This Soulquarian has come a long way, and just when I get worried that his acting career might get in the way of his rhymes, he just gets stronger. We LA kids just had our fun with Common at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip (I hear he brought out Stevie Wonder!), but the rest of you may be in for some Common Sense very soon, so check out his website for more info!
And Common, let’s talk a Soulquarian reunion my friend.
Until next time my friends,