Friday, October 10, 2008


Oh dear mother of Christ....

Some 11 years ago, a young, aspiring Chicago emcee named Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. made one of the fiercest one-verse tracks the genre has ever seen. It's called “Hungry,” and it sits as the ninth track on his stellar One Day It’ll All Make Sense album. On that track he defiantly declared, “Skip ladies, this is ‘rip-a-mothaFUCKA night” - on some "come-and-get-me" type shit - over a fierce No I.D. loop.

Now, in 2008…he’s “rapping” lines like “This-is-that-automatic/I stay fresh like I’m wrapped in plastic” over some techno, Euro-synth-shitbag beat straight from the boards of Pharrell’s confused ass.

What the fuck happened? Common has been sitting comfortably in my “Top 10 Greatest Emcees of All Time” list for a decade, which is the main reason I’ve let him get away with more and more of his creative liberties as the years pass and I witness with consternation the devolution of the flow that still gives me goosebumps every time I listen to “Watermelon.”

I found merits in Electric Circus that most folks couldn’t. I thought Be was a fantastic album despite a clearly watered-down flow in comparison to just about anything on Resurrection. I even gave him a pass for the generally inferior Finding Forever (especially for that pedo look he shot us all on that homo-tastic album cover).

But there’s no forgiving “Universal Mind Control.” This shit is hot, liquid garbage that even Common purists will find it a tall order to justify. I could take a shit on a blank CD-R and come up with something better than this. And the knowledge that Pharrell has taken the bulk of the production credits on his upcoming album, also titled Universal Mind Control, leads me to believe that it will actually be WORSE than Electric Circus.

And this is what Common wants. I read an article a few months ago about how he wants to emulate the music that gets asses shaking in European nightclubs. Man, fuck all that; you’re a rapper…RAP. If I wanna hear shit like this, I'll go hang out in Wicker Park or tune into MTV2 at 3 a.m.

Common is a rapper constantly struggling for an identity under the facade of constantly “reinventing” himself. I like that he found a “home” with Kanye for a while, but I simply don’t think he really knows what or where home is. I fear that in figuring it out, he’s gonna alienate his fan base while maybe (maybe!) getting the mainstream success that’s basically eluded him his entire career.

First, The Foreign Exchange and now Common. *Sigh*.

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