Artist: The Last Poets; John Legend; Kanye West; Bilal; John Mayer
Producer: Kanye West...
Distributor: Universal Distribution
Notes: Personnel: Common (vocals); Dave Chappelle (spoken vocals); James Poyser (various instruments); DJ Dummy (scratches); John Legend, John Mayer , Kanye West, Bilal, Luna E (background vocals); The Last Poets. After fusing hip-hop, rock, and soul on 2002's THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS, Chicago rapper Common returned three years later with BE. Like its two-letter title, BE is much leaner, consisting of 11 pure hip-hop tracks marked by Common's enlightened, contemplative, easy-flowing lyrics. Although the album is more streamlined, it's not predictable or unoriginal, as the beats unfold with the same combination of rawness and melodic energy that made Kanye West's debut so uncommonly engaging. This is no coincidence--West is present throughout much of BE, producing all but two of the songs here. West even appears on one of the disc's highlights, "The Food," with some expert freestyle rhyming as captured live on CHAPPELLE'S SHOW. Common's confident, yet constantly searching, demeanor and his poetic instinct for just the right words bonds him to the heritage of hip-hop, a point hit home by the presence of rap legends the Last Poets on "The Corner." Common is always slightly and endearingly unsure, and his self-deprecation seeps out on "Love Is..." and "Faithful." However, he has the inner power to garner attention, as evident on the smooth party jam "GO!" (featuring John Mayer). BE is Common at his unaffected, commanding best.
Rolling Stone (No. 975, p.70) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[H]is sixth and best disc....[Kanye] West is the producer Common has been waiting for all of his career: He makes Common both catchier and edgier at the same time..." Spin (p.63) - Ranked #17 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2005" - "Bathed in throwback soul and lively drums, Common suddenly sounded like the seer he'd always hoped he was." Spin (p.102) - "[With] '70s-soul string samples, store-front-church piano tinkling, chipmunk gospel vocal hooks....Common's remarkably hungry raps push it along." - Grade: A- Entertainment Weekly (No. 821/822, p.136) - "[T]he marriage of [Common's] conscious rhymes to [Kanye] West's gritty, boho-inflected production boasts more organic freshness than a Whole Foods Market..." - Grade: A- Uncut (p.97) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[The record] offers a rich jukebox of gospel-tinged R&B flavours over which Common scatters his gems." Mojo (Publisher) (p.112) - 4 stars out of 5 - "BE succeeds through its sense of focus and poignancy." Paste (magazine) - "The soul and jazz-loop landscapes the producers set Common against highlight his classic, laidback flow..."
Born Lonnie Rashied Lynn in Chicago, the rapper who would become an integral part of the 1990s underground hip-hop scene started out as Common Sense. His 1992 debut CAN I BORROW A DOLLAR? showcased a politically conscious, musically eclectic artist interested in expanding the boundaries of hip-hop. Though forced to shorten his handle to Common after a legal dispute, he pursued his vision, incorporating jazz, rock, R&B and more into his sound, and collaborating with everyone from jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove to up-and-coming rapper Cee-Lo and R&B diva Erykah Badu.
Also Appears On:
311 Atmosphere Badu, Erykah Born, Lyrics Brand Nubian Camp Lo Cannibal Ox Company Flow Coup (The) De La Soul Def, Mos El-P Fiasco, Lupe Gang Starr Goodie Mob Grae, Jean Green, Cee-Lo Hill, Lauryn Jean, Wyclef Jurassic 5 Kool Keith Kweli, Talib Monch, Pharoahe Mr. Lif Prefuse 73 Prince Paul Pumpkinhead Q-Tip Rahzel Rock, Aesop Roots (The) Simpson, Guilty Slum Village Spearhead Tah Phrum Duh Bush The Black Eyed Peas The Fugees Tribe Called Quest (A) West, Kanye
Boogie Down Productions De La Soul Dylan, Bob EPMD Eric B. & Rakim Guru Hendrix, Jimi Jungle Brothers Last Poets (The) Mitchell, Joni Poor Righteous Teachers Prince Run-D.M.C. Scott-Heron, Gil The Disposable Heroes of Hiphop Tribe Called Quest (A) Wonder, Stevie
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|Regular Items||Double Rewards Items|