The 2nd Coming
label: Geffen

production: Kanye West, Dilla

guests: The Last Poets, Kanye West, John Legend
year of release: 2005
website: common-music.com
1.
Be (Intro)
2.
The Corner
3.
Go!
4.
Faithful
5.
Testify
6.
Love Is…
7.
Chi-City
8.
The Food (Live)
9.
Real People
10.
They Say
11. It's Your World (Part 1 & 2)
  Go!
Common will achieve one rare feat: to rebound after a record that basically bombed. Him getting another chance might just show that the times are not as bad as we always bicker and moan about. Then again, the shady A&R's only had to listen to the signature tune and first single "The Corner" to know that Common is up to something. So add a banging first single, add the fact that everybody's favourite arrogant bastard Kanye West was behind the board, add a raving review in the good of the two major hip hop print magazines and you basically have everything you need for a record to blow.
And blow it should. Not the least to finally get Common the success his talent deserves. Dude is one ill lyricist and considering his constant staying true to the roots - and may they be just to innovate instead of imitate - you gotta give the man props. Sure "Electric Circus" was kinda 'bah' - he's not quite OutKast - but the intentions were right. But now it's back to the boom bap, to have those early golden and classic years influence the tunes and everything seems to be this that and a bag of chips.
It's this that and a barrel of gold if the rest of the - notably understaffed - album is as good as "Be (Intro)." This tune starts somewhat corny, with a little bass. But then it speeds up, the organ comes in, a piano joins and once that drum hits, right this very moment you have to be a fan - if this does not make you fall in love with the record, get your hearing adjusted. And then Common says: "walk like warriors we were never told to run / explored the world to return to where my soul begun / never looking back or too far in front of me / the present is a gift and I just want to be." Yes, don't look back. This is not that last album. This is the album we always wanted Common to do.
A couple of years down the line people will still listen to this record and enjoy it. That's an achievement one can not attribute to many current releases. But Kanye outdid himself too, and Common was confident enough in his art to allow someone next to him to shine. That's why Kanye can let "Go!" build (and die) slowly, before Common start to rap about the him and her. Heck, and then there's even scratches in this piece. And percussions. This is crazy.
More on him and her but with a definite twist is on "Faithful." This track does feature a rather standard Kanye beat, with that little squirrel hook and then some singing at the end that is incredibly unnecessary. The next song "Testify" is a little bit of a repeat of "Faithful". But this little complaint brings this back down to earth away from the supernatural praise, and that's somewhat of a relief, especially as "Testify" is only really bad if you're really picky.
Much better and of great quality is "Love Is…" even with the tried and tested lyrical content. But how can you be mad about something where the rapper really pours his heart out? "Some say that I'm a dreamer cause I talk about it often / seen the hardest Nigga soften with his Homie in the coffin / we walk in, stand in, fall in it / with the right companion we all in it." However, by now you should have also realized that there's a common and mature theme to this record. Common does spit from a man that grew up perspective. He matured, has a daughter to teach and a life where responsible living suddenly makes more sense.
And then Common drops "Chi-City": "I rap with the passion of Christ, nigga cross me / took it out of space and niggas thought they lost me / I'm back like a Chiropract with b-boy survival rap / It ain't '94 Joe we can't go back / the Game need a makeover / my man retired, I'ma take over / tell these halftime niggas break's over / I'm raw hustlers get your baking soda / too many rape the culture / leave rappers with careers and their faith over / it's a war going on you can't fake being a soldier / in the basement listening to tapes of Ultra / Magnetic to the fact the Messiah is black / I turn the TV down we could take it higher than that / I wonder if these wack niggas realize they wack / and they the reason that my people say they tired of rap." Quite the slam dunk, huh.
Moving one step forward, there's "The Food (Live)" and why the hell is that on here? Okay, this sucks: give us the studio version. Then there's the dope "Real People", "They Say" where even the singing makes sense over such a dope beat and finally there's "It's Your World (Part 1 & 2)," with bad signing. And if you're wondering why we race through these songs like that, then because this a) feels like preaching to the choir; b) I'd rather listen to the record than talk about it; c) buy this essential release which just might be Common's finest release yet.
review: tadah
   
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