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Wednesday, April 27, 2005 

BE - Common

In Rap’s crowded field of play, a breath of fresh is as elusive as the winning lottery numbers. Then comes a familiar name, Common, parading a paradigm of excellence via an unfamiliar route. BE is not his defense against those who argue that he went ‘soft’ because of Erykah Badu, it’s his insightful teachings on inconceivable love (Faithful). He’s not refuting those who claim the windy city has nothing special to offer, he’s clinching the place of “Chi-City” on the map(“They ask me where Hip Hop is going, It’s Chica-going”). BE is not Comm’s come-back LP, it’s the assertion of his legendary status.
Be“, the track-opener is like the thesis of an essential term paper, paving the path for the rest of the album, and offering lyrical purity on the way: “The chosen one from the land of the frozen one/Where drunk nights get remembered more than sober ones//”. The rapper formerly known as Common Sense then perches on “The Corner” with the Last Poets on his side, where he observes and documents street eccentricities over Kanye West’s hard-hitting percussions. One of the reasons Common still commands respect in the Hip Hop community is that he understands the fundamentals of the game. Testify”, the storytelling track needed to make BE the complete package, is a palpable case of a hustler who pays a steep price for his woman.
Common arrays his musical growth throughout BE, combining accessibility with lyrical prowess, without a scintilla of commercial compromise. The airwave-admissible “Go” is a carnal discussion blessed by Kanye’s unconventional melodic tinge. Jay Dee‘s riveting guitar licks are gently kissed by the humble insight on “Love Is”. The up-tempo jazzy horns on “Real People” signals a brand new Kanye sound and a nonchalant broadcast personality on Comm’s part (“I be showing niggas lives like UPN”).
Not since College Dropout has Hip Hop witnessed feasibility, coherence, and rawness in a single bundle. BE is impeccable by all standards. According to Comm, "BE means to do without trying hard. BE is about being natural". Common is not only teaching this concept, he’s practicing exactly how to BE.

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