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Electric Circus

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Album Review

Firmly out of the underground by the time Electric Circus came out in late 2002, Common takes the vision to the next level, employing high-profile producers ?uestlove, Dilla (Jay Dee), and the Neptunes. It's no surprise that the ?uestlove tracks push the most unclaimed territory. The Roots' Phrenology record, which appeared concurrent with Electric Circus, also flips the script on preconceived notions of beats and rhymes. Frequently the new sound on both records is pushed into a strange, sometimes aggressive, blunted rock/soul hybrid that still pulls the line for able-bodied MCs. Then there's also the Neptunes' tracks here, which are perfectly suited for MTV and urban radio. The Mary J. Blige duet, "Come Close," is a slow-paced dialogue between Common and Blige that borders on typical, but will still find a great number of fans. "Electric Wire Hustler Flower" is the true centerpiece of the record, though — another ?uestlove jam, the song is tough but sensitive enough to maintain the layers of rhythm, rhyme, and abstraction. Electric Circus does suffer from that which ails many contemporary hip-hop albums — too many guests (including a strange appearance by Laetitia Sadier [Stereolab]) and a generally lengthy program drag this one down a tad. Nonetheless, Electric Circus is a brave and ruthless statement wrapped in sincerity.

Customer Reviews

Make sure you hear it before you buy it!

I was so excited after hearing "Be" that I wanted to buy every Common CD out there. Common's rhythmic rapping style and old-school roots can be found in all his CDs, but be careful with "Electric Circus." While this album may have been the first experience of Common for some fans, if you are working backwards from his most recent release, make sure you listen to this CD before buying it! This album includes the same quick paced beats and meaningful lyrics as his other albums, and Hip-hop lovers will immediately feel at home again with "Come Close" and "Aquarius." But if you're looking for a rap album, then you may want to try "Like Water for Chocolate" or "Be." While Common definitely protrays his unique style in "Electric Circus," fans of his newer CDs may be disappointed.

An A for effort a B for execution...Most Com lps are A's

I am a nitty-gritty true backpack rap hip-Hopper! What that means is I enjoy creativity and intelligience along with good beats and a great voice. Thug posturing, fictious threats, criminals becoming rappers, and general self-destructive lyrics and lifestyles don't impress me. With that said, Common was a brave turning this album in. I appreciate it, I do, he deserves credits for pushing the limits of rap music. Like Mos Def with The New Danger, Com drifted far off from what we were used to. Although both artists gave us hints they may go tin the direction of Electric and Danger. Common is a backpackers' and okayplayers emcee hero. He is one of the best in the game period as well as being our champion for intelligience and creativity. So we're hungry for the meat and potatoes style as well as the sushi. When fans are starving fill us first then we can dib and dab. Anyway this wasn't one of his best but it is still worth its' weight and worth having in your collection. I-Poders download "Come Close" and "I Am Music" and if you are a beat junkie- "I Got A Right Ta" (Pharrell produced it; a rare different sound for him)

His most innovated Album

I been a Common fan since his first joint I used to Love Her. Common has always been a MC that push the barrier of HipHop beyond the manufactured bubblegum mess. This album was very slept on!


Born: March 13, 1972 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

Common (originally Common Sense) was a highly influential figure in rap's underground during the '90s, keeping the sophisticated lyrical technique and flowing syncopations of jazz-rap alive in an era when commercial gangsta rap was threatening to obliterate everything in its path. His outward looking, nimbly performed rhymes and political consciousness certainly didn't fit the fashions of the moment, but he was able to win a devoted cult audience. By the late '90s, a substantial underground movement...
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