• AUTHOR
SihleMthembu
Common-The Dreamer/The Believer
13H20 WEDNESDAY, 11 JANUARY 2012
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I don’t know when the exact moment of disillusionment take hold. Maybe it’s somewhere on the second verse of Ghetto dreams, maybe it’s the suffixed braggadocio of Sweet. I drift of in the kitchen as my laptop bleeds with unfamiliar rhythms. I am cooking pasta and listen to Common’s latest offering. I don’t feel lifted, instead I occupy I sustained state of nostalgia. To this day I still refuse to publicly acknowledge that Common has released an album since his iconic 2005 Be. Maybe I should cut the bother some slack. Finding forever was a fair attempt. I liked Pops speaking about origin being forever. He reminds me of everything that all good black man are. All deep voices and tall words. Don’t talk to me about Universal mind control or I will unfriend you. Digital revenge is my best friend. I guess this is karma speaking to me with its bad breath. After all I am playing the album on mp3 format.

It’s always hard to accept when someone you idolize has moved on. When they pack their bags from that family realm where you had found them. No longer can you wield them as a cautionary tale in the pursuit of cultural excellence. They have become what you hate. How do you deal with that? For me Common has reached this dominion and I so badly want to consider all this as a mistake, some terribly effective inside joke. I want to dream, I want to believe that this album is anything but common.

I can’t shake the sense that something terrible is happening and I have no way to stop it. Let me stop musing and talking about the music. This was by far my most anticipated album of the year. When I read the track list and the credits it seemed all the items that could make for a landmark album had been marked off the checklist. Good producer?-NO I.D-check. Good featured artists?-Nas and John Legend-check. That old school spoken word flavour?-Maya Angelou and Pops-Check. Then why does the listening experience feel so lackluster. Unvoiced, transitional and re-definitive.

The opening track which features Angelou is a strong attempt but its serves a preview of what is too come. On this album I could not help but get the sense that there were two creative directions. The one being some of the songs were sort of sequels to tracks that were on Be. For me Sweet has some of the elements of Chi City. Raw feels much like Go. But the tracks on the latest album are too multidimensional. They lack points of entry that can sustain your interest.

The second possible creative direction was to create a new sound for Common. A sound that would make for less socially overt listening. The kind of music that is more about celebrating rather than exorcising the demons of a society in which many do not have the pleasure of celebration. I don’t know which is worse. All I know is that when I listened to Common and Nas on Ghetto dreams, it was not a convincing preview for their joint album scheduled for release this year. The only track that vaguely caught my attention was The believer. It’s a song that dabbles into familiar surrounds an helps restore faith in Common’s musical repertoire. Lyrically it reaches out and presses all the buttons we know Lonnie Lynn JR can reach. But it’s too far at the end. By the time Pops comes and soothes me with his poetic nuances he does a great job of suppressing my anxiety that Common has crossed over into the major leagues of hip-hop’s elite, and in so doing has sort of left a lot of us behind.

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02 Comments  
  1. +
    James Dean
    6 YEARS AGO

    This beef he has with Drake is stupid. Who has beef with Drake mara? What a waste of time ...

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