Fuck Guilty Pleasures: In Defense of Common
Universal Mind Control was completely despised upon release, but plays now like casual fun. Tracks like "Gladiator," "Announcement" and the Missy/Timbo-worthy beat of the title tune, are all quite accessible. It's the rare "crossover" album that sounds completely unforced and small-stakes. It sounds like the kind of album a happy and accomplished guy makes when he knows his label deal is ending.
His next album was everything a latter-day Common record should sound like, and yet it still feels neglected. The Dreamer/The Believer reached the top 20, sold six digits, won polite reviews, and sounded like a Common career summation. Its best track, "The Believer," was a John Legend feature with a beautiful backdrop that would've fit perfectly on Be or Finding Forever.
Common is still here, nine albums into a genre where few people last three. He seems like a somewhat relaxed dude, at a time when Kanye, Waka Flocka Flame, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj are sucking the air out of the room. People should be proud of the rapper who knows his limitations and makes the most of his zone. His records are definitely taken for granted because rap fans are so obsessed with greatness. But he embodies a vintage hip-hop idea: that it's all good.
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