Common: Did Kanye West Make Him Classic?
Wednesday - May 18, 2005
Heís atypical, exceptional, and a rare find. His music is that of raw, uncut, straight hip-hop. In other words, the man has talent and thatís why heís been around for so long. The Southside Chicago born jazz/rap combo artist jump started his career by winning the Source Magazineís Unsigned Hype contest back in 1992 and shortly after released his first LP, Can I Borrow A Dollar?.
His new and forthcoming album was given a classic rating by XXL magazine (5 mics), but the artist alone can be seen as a classic figure amongst the Hip-Hop community. Heís best known for enriching the plains of hip-hop with his ear-popping political and social awareness messages. His first hard-hitting single, The Corner, off the new album has been in heavy rotation and paint vivid pictures of the rough, rugged, and raw life in the ghetto from introspect.
If you donít know who Iím talking about then you either donít know Hip-Hop, are too young to know the roots of Hip-Hop, or youíve just been living under a rock. In either case you better ask somebody. Itís none other than Lonnie Rashied Lynn better known as Common (formerly Common Sense).
BE is the newest album born from the ingenious thoughts of poet/rapper Common and the impeccable production of none other than Kanye West (9 tracks) and Jay Dilla (2 tracks).
For those not familiar with the work of Jay Dilla (if youíre a true Hip-Hop head Iím sure you are) he produced the Life of Me and was instrumental in producing the last two A Tribe Called Quest albums. Those two brothers gave Common the soul needed, the raw Hip-Hop wanted.
I focused on a mission of creating an album where it was me and people got to know me. I wanted to create something special and classic that was just me...
Create something special and classic he did according to XXL. BE was created as an equilibrium between the past perception of Common and the reality of the artist. BE sets the record straight that just because Common is a self-conscious rapper does not mean heís ďpreachyĒ and doesnít like to have fun. That statement couldnít be further from the truth.
Fortunately for the masses of true Hip-Hoppers and backpackers, BE is slated to be released May 24th on Kanyeís label G.O.O.D (Getting Out Our Dreams) Music. G.O.O.D Music features other noteworthy artists such as, John Legend, TLC, Consequence, and the group Saíra. The next single to be released off the album BE is said to be Go, another example of Commonís undaunted intellectual play on words.
Go, however, displays a less conscious and more sensual side of Common; a side of him that we have not seen. The underlying theme, conscious brothers have sex too, enough said. The racier side of Common is shown as he proceeds to act out two of his fantasies in the video for Go.
The first, being with a girl Iíd been with before and I would have good sex with. Then another woman I was digging that was open and wanted to be with another girl and me too. What man has not wanted to live out that fantasy? I thought to myself, please let this be sexy but beautiful. I wanted it to be something my daughter could watch. I donít want it to be something Iím not. I donít want it to be something I canít show my daughter and talk to her about. I canít just put anything out there to sell records.
Throughout the creation of Go, Common made sure he had 100% input on the decisions regarding which models to use for the video. He had to have that connection. Once again Common proves to be one of the wordiest lyricist around yet he can maintain his conscious sense and versatility while still being one of the hottest MCs around.
So what else has Common been doing since heís been off the music scene? Well, letís see. Youíve seen him constantly on BET advertising safe sex (knowhivaids.com) using the ever so popular Spoken Word, which Rakiem referred to as rap being rhythm in poetry, but what else has he been up to?
Kanyeís working on his new album Late Registration so Iím around for that. I got a new hat line coming out called Soji, which is named after my neighbor because I liked it so much...it's a high-end hat line. I just did a remix on Faithís Again. Iím trying to be a better father, going to the movies; I ride around listening to music, getting my hat line together, writing childrenís books, knowhivaids.com, and I also have my own foundation, Common Ground. It's purpose helps disadvantaged Chicago youth with after school educations programs. At the same time the program uses the enriching tool of Hip-Hop as a teaching method rather than Hip-Hop being used as a tool of endangerment. The method is to use Hip-Hop as a tool of positivity instead of negativity. Everythingís looking good right now. I just got a classic rating from XXL on my new album so Iím hoping to get the same love from other magazines.
And why would Common not receive the same love from other magazines? Thereís no logical reason he shouldnít unless other magazines are hatiní on the brother. Common is one of the most down-to-earth brothers in the industry thus far. In his eyes;
God is the source of everything. You gotta walk humble. Those who walk humble will be exalted at the end. At this point I believe in myself and Iím a cold artist and that I can create great music and that doesnít make me a better person than somebody else and God gives us our gifts and itís not there to flaunt in front of anybody; use them for the right purpose.
For anybody out there trying to make it in any industry this is Commonís advice to you.
Believe in who you are and love yourself. Show who you are, know who you are, and donít be afraid of who you are. Just have fun in life, learn and grow. Know that thereís going to be some good days and some bad days.
BE comes highly recommended for lovers of TRUE Hip-Hop. For those of you with common sense and good taste, BE will be one of the classic CDs in the midst of your collection. BE is the mother of all come backs and this is precedented to be one of thehardest hitting CDs to surface since the passing of the great Tupac and Biggie.
Mark your calendars and make sure to cop Common's new joint, BE, May 24th is the day!