What do you get when you mix together one of the most talented MC's around with one of the most talented producers of the moment, with a sniff of the soul singer of the moment? I could be wrong, but chances are that you get an album that is as great as Common's "Be" is. From the magical intro that is sure to make you smile as much as Common is smiling on the cover to the latest track, Common lets you forget everything around you in order to show you real hiphop.
Common's flow is very tight, especially on "The Corner" and Kanye West's production is top notch, as we are used from him. The two connect all through the album and Ye even makes 2 guest appearances, dropping dope verses.
While hiphop nowadays is usually about bling, b*tches and partying, Common speaks of love, God and social issues. On Faithful he beautifully combines the concepts of love for a woman and faith in God when he rhymes:
I was rollin' around, in my mind it occurred
What if God was a her?
Would I treat her the same? Would I still be runnin' game on her?
In what type of ways would I want her?
Would I want her for her mind or her heavenly body?
Couldn't be out gettin' bogus with someone so godly
If I was wit' her would I still be wantin' my ex?
The lies, the greed, the weed, the sex...
On "Testify" he draws a story about a female criminal who sets up her man over a beat with a sample that comes back just a bit too much but that still hits home. "Love is.." is almost anti-hiphop from a gangsta-hiphop point of view, however, Common does it brilliantly, constantly relating to the paradoxes between being a man, loving a woman and being a player. About love he says:
"As men we were taught to hold it in
That's why we don't know how 'til we're older men"
Chi-City then returns hard (if Common can ever really be raw he does it here), dissing "half time n*gga's" and stating that people are getting tired of rap because of 'em. The beat is pure magic and Common shows his wit when he says:
"So many rap's about rim's...
surprised n*gga's ain't become tires..."
"The Food" together with Kanye West is a good track, however, it is a pity that its a live performance, because it kind of pulls you out of the magic of the album. "Real People" has a great beat (with an almost inaudible kick) and sounds very relaxed and jazzy, which gives Com the chance to once again show of his great rhyming skills while he talks about social problems. If it is possible to point out a real high point on the album it must be this song.
"They Say" is the magical collab with Kanye and John Legend over a very laid back beat, and "It's Your World" is just a brilliant song lyrically.
If you like good lyrics, deep, jazzy and laid back beats than this is the album for you. Its only weakness is the fact that the songs are all good - but not great. The album misses that one track that you put up (however, the intro might be just that song) to listen too. If you want to fully appreciate it, you need to listen the whole thing - and you won't be disappointed. Where is hiphop going? Its Chi-Ca-Going!