This Saturday, February 19th, the legendary Common will be holding it down for the crowd in our very own acoustically challenged Patrick Gym. Fans of Com-Sense, both those who love him for his lyrical prowess and those who love him for his “conscious” raps, will not be disappointed.
March 1st, Common is set to release his sixth studio record, BE. From his frequent appearances on mix tapes over the last few months, as well as the recently released single, “The Corner” (featuring hip hop forefathers and spoken word group The Last Poets), it seems one can expect a renewed Com-Sense, attempting to bring back traditional Hip-hop while still expanding his lyrical skills.
Common, a Hip-hop pioneer, Cha-town native, Kanye West associate, and Roots-label mate, has evolved over his last thirteen years on wax. He’s gone from eloquent battle-rapper on his first record, Can I Borrow a Dollar? to powerful Hip-hop poet, doing songs with such artists as Femi Kuti, son of legendary Afro-funk musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
His song “I Used to Love H.E.R” has inspired countless MC’s to rhyme about something other than money, cash, or hoes. Over the course of his career, his music has continued to reflect the mentality of the people he wishes to reach, and the changing tides in the music industry, without sacrificing the strong, very recognizable personality that he has always been. Many Common fans, looking for another Can I Borrow a Dollar? or Resurrection (his sophomore release), were disappointed by his last release. Electric Circus was a valiant effort at pushing foreword the Hip-hop genre, even going so far as including an appearance by the king of androgynous-funk himself, Prince.
Unfortunately, most critics and fans found that it fell short if its lofty goals. The buzz surrounding his new record, however, hints at a Common who has reconnected with his roots in bare-bones Hip-hop music. He has been praised for his mix tape appearances, his cameo appearance on Kanye West’s debut album last year, and multiple appearances on the Dave Chapelle show.
Mix tape DJ Mike Love told MTV several months ago that “Common is in straight throwback mode, rapping with the pinpointed b-boy poignancy that blessed such albums as Resurrection (1994) and One Day It’ll All Make Sense (1997).” It is with that renewed energy that Common is coming to UVM to promote his new record. For his part, Common does not dismiss his last record as either a mistake or a failure. Merely, Electric Circus was an experiment that did not catch on. Whereas Outkast were able to sell millions of units with their outrageous swing/Hop record The Love Below/Speakerboxx, by appealing to rock fans eager to latch onto Hip-hop, Common’s fan base has remained almost exclusively true Hip-hop fans.
This new record is for them, Common told MTV last year while still in production, “After going way out, (on Electric Circus) it’s a natural progression for me to come home again. It’s (the new record) more about people and things relative to life.” For the new record, or any of his classic releases, check out Pure Pop records downtown.