Common's latest may be the most joyous and exhilarating release of the year. Not too much of a surprise, considering the many a respectful nods received from discerning hip-hop heads and critics during his 13 plus years of rapping. Usually a bit too experimental for the mainstream, hooking up with wonder-producer Kanye West ensures Common and Be's status as a household name.
Unlike his contemporaries, Common's rhymes of love and social injustice groove on optimism unrivaled by even a ward of expectant mothers. Buoyed by West's soulful production, he retains a deep respect for the roots of soul and funk without churning out slavish imitation. "Real People" recalls the spirit of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues," while remaining adherently Common's own. What makes Be so striking is the ease at which it sucks you in.
More confident than ever, Common proves to be the most poised emcee to ever take up a mic. Be is an album with the power to unite the slouched hip-hop connoisseur in his Def Jux hoodie with the booty wobbling soccer mom.