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Like Water For Chocolate

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Album Review

Common spent the '90s carrying the Native Tongues torch through an era dominated by gangsta rap, earning a sizable underground following. Positive-minded alternative rap came back into vogue by the new millennium, and Common managed to land with major label MCA for 2000's Like Water for Chocolate. The album established him as a leading figure of alternative rap's second generation, not just because of the best promotion he'd ever had, but also because it was his great musical leap forward, building on the strides of One Day It'll All Make Sense. There's production work by the Roots' ?uestlove, neo-soul auteur D'Angelo, the Soulquarians, and DJ Premier. But the vast majority of the album was handled by Slum Village's Jay Dee, and his thick, mellow, soul- and jazz-inflected sonics make Like Water for Chocolate one of the richest-sounding albums of the new underground movement. Common isn't always a master technician on the mic, but it hardly matters when the music serves his deeply spiritual vision and smooth-flowing raps so effectively. The singles "The Light" and "The 6th Sense" are quintessential Common, uplifting and thoughtful, and helped bring him a whole new audience. They're well complemented by the slinky, jazzy funk and lush neo-soul ballads that make up the record. Not everything is sweetness and utopia, either; Common sends up his own progressive image on "A Film Called (Pimp)," which features a hilarious guest appearance by MC Lyte, and spins a gripping first-person tale of revenge on the streets on "Payback Is a Grandmother" (though the tougher "Dooinit" feels a bit forced). The album could have been trimmed a bit to keep its momentum going, but on the whole, Like Water for Chocolate is a major statement from an artist whose true importance was just coming into focus.

Customer Reviews

Uncommon (but not un-Common) Quality

A quality hip hop album like this is ironically not that common (but definitely not uncommon for Common). Like Water For Chocolate is one of the best hip hop albums I've heard in recent years (these are becoming hard to find). Throughout this album, the tracks are musical and the lyrics are intelligent. Some other great guests grace this album. My favorite on this one is The Question, with Common and Mos Def throwing some funny questions back and forth over a smooth, chilled vibe. Another favorite is Nag Champa -- one of those rare, deep hip hop tracks make me close my eyes and nod. Recommended.

Wow...

Speechless..

MUST BUY NOW

Support this man, this is a classic!

I've slept on it for too long now!

RIP J Dilla

Biography

Born: March 13, 1972 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Common (originally Common Sense) has been one of the most highly influential figures in rap music, keeping the sophisticated lyrical technique and flowing syncopations of jazz-rap alive in an era when the mainstream and hardcore have increasingly threatened to obliterate everything in its path. His outward looking, nimbly performed rhymes, and political consciousness haven't always fit the fashions of rap trends, but his albums have been praised by critics, and he achieved mainstream popularity with...
Full bio
Like Water For Chocolate, Common
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