Saturday, December 31, 2011


Common released his latest LP, The Dreamer/The Believer in the last days of 2011, making it difficult to evaluate against other albums that I've been listening to for weeks or months.  But there were at least two songs that I've been listening to for a while: "Blue Sky" and "Ghetto Dreams," the latter featuring Nas. They are both great songs, especially "Ghetto Dreams": hearing two of the greatest MCs of our era on one song is definitely a treat.

The entire LP is produced by No ID.  And other than Nas, there are only two guest appearances: John Legend and Maya Angelou. No ID worked with Common on his early recordings; he's also the guy who introduced Kanye West to production. Common and No ID work together really well, and it was a great idea to have him do the entire album.  These days, most hip-hop albums are more like compilations with different producers, different guest stars.  The artist whose name is on the LP cover is a common thread throughout the songs.  The Dreamer/The Believer feels like an album.

One song that's getting a lot of attention is "Sweet," a song which he has said is about younger hip-hop artists, including Drake.  I'm not part of the hip-hop community, but when I saw Drake's Sprite commercial, where he raps "Last name 'ever,' first name 'greatest,'" I had to laugh and wonder if the guy had every single Eric B & Rakim LP. Or any Eric B & Rakim LP. Does he know who Rakim is? Or KRS-One, Guru, Black Thought, Nas... or Common? I realize that Common risks looking "old" or out of touch by doing a record like "Sweet," but he's a man, and it needed to be said.

Anyway, back to music. I hope Common and No ID do the next album together.  I think The Dreamer/The Believer is a great album, but his greatest is yet to come.

No comments: