Common is a 49 year old MC, actor & writer from Chicago, Illinois who first emerged 3 decades back by being featured in the Unsigned Hype column of The Source back in the publication’s heyday & resulted in a 3-album deal with Relativity Records shortly after. Can I Borrow a Dollar? was a solid debut even though you can tell that he still hadn’t come into his own yet, but embraced the conscious hip hop that became universally known for with his next 2 albums Resurrection & One Day It’ll All Make Sense. However once we entered the new millennium, Common ended up signing to MCA Records for 2 albums: his magnum opus Like Water for Chocolate & the experimental Electric Circus. The label then dissolved at the beginning of 2003 & he jumped ship to G.O.O.D. Music/Geffen Records. His debut under Kanye West’s then-newly formed label Be received universal acclaim, but Finding Forever was a respectable follow-up & I can’t really say the same for the hip house-centered Universal Mind Control. After his contract with G.O.O.D./Geffen was fulfilled, he decided to reunite with No I.D. & drop The Dreamer/The Believer under Warner Records before Immenslope was granted his own Def Jam Recordings imprint ARTium Recordings. Nobody’s Smiling was a great response to the ever-increasing crime rate in his hometown & the Karriem Riggins-produced Black America Again was even greater given that it was revolves around the 2016 presidential election. But it’s safe to say that Common has been making himself home at Loma Vista Recordings & sticking with Karriem on the production end of things these last couple years, as proven on his previous album Let Love & his debut EP A Beautiful Revolution. However with the 1-year anniversary of the latter approaching at the end of next month, the Chicago/Detroit emcee/producer duo are dropping a sequel in the form of Com’s 13th full-length outing.
After the “Push Out the Noise” intro, the first song “A Beautiful Chicago Kid” is a funky kickstart to the album saying he manifests everything that you see whereas “When We Move” with Black Thought has a groovy instrumental talking about the world following their path. “Set It Free” has a more summery vibe talking about being you just before “Majesty (Where We Gonna Take It?)” serves as a seductive love tune.
Meanwhile on “Poetry”, we have these twangy guitar licks with Com advising to never question the motive leading into the boom bap-tinged “Saving Grace” with the lyrics of course getting spiritual. “Star of the Gang” keeps the dusty drums in motion saying he’s fortunate even though he’s been through a lot while the penultimate song “Imagine” speaks on a paradise over a sample of “Imaginary Playmates” by René & Angela. And before the “!” outro, “Get It Right” ends the album on an uptempo note saying be patient because good things happen in time.
As much as I enjoyed the predecessor, I think the sequel is better. In comparison to the EP tackling all the bullshit that transpired in 2020, the full-length sequel picks up right where things left off & provides the listeners optimism for a brighter day which is perfect given that states are opening back up completely.