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CD Reviews : Be
By Richard Henry on March 14, 2010

Common released Be in 2005 that was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album and sold over 800,000 copies. Produced by Kanye West, Be received excellent ratings from XXL magazine, AllHipHop and The Source Magazine. Be received controversy due to the ninth track titled Real People in which Common commented on interracial relationships that received criticism from mixed race hip hop artists from the U.K. Common has released albums such as Like Water For Chocolate, Thisisme Then and One Day It'll All Make Sense. Featuring eleven tracks, Be is sure to please many.

The album opens up with Be(intro) in which Derrick Hodge plays solo on bass followed by James Poyser on piano and then the other array of sounds are added. A retro vibe is unquestionably heard throughout this song. Right off the bat this song seems to be about going in a direction with references to Coltrane and Malcolm. Be really sets the character of this album with the theme of just being who you are.

Faithful, the album’s fourth track, uses God as a symbol of femininity in regards to God being a woman and the effects that would have. This song is about being loyal and faithful to the one you love. The nice gospel style piano licks sound great as well as the gospel flavored vocals. Relationship issues are also heard in the lyrics, about one’s past in regards to being with someone.

Fire, ferocity and intense focus are the things that come to mind in the album’s seventh track Chi-City. It seems to me as if the message of this song is about the rap scene and the trend that’s going on in it in relation to the Chicago scene. Common really spits out his message that’ll truly make you listen. He mentions fake rappers that seems to be prevalent these days. You have to make a stand for what you believe in and hold on to that. Chi-City really reflects on the overall theme of Be.

The tenth track They Say includes artists Kanye West and John Legend. This song has a nice, cool vibe to it, like you want to chill. I love the keyboard samples in the background. You get a picture of money, fame, record deals and shows. The decisions made in life are portrayed.

Common makes references to God and you know that he is in touch with his spirituality and has faith in such powers. Be certainly will give you a different feel of Common’s style as he is known as a rapper who talks about real issues concerning life. He makes it clear that you should just be your own entity. Common epitomizes what hip hop should be and the direction that it should be taking.


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