Written by Mobb Deen of It Was Posted
(The Dreamer, The Believer; 2011)
Call me a contratrian douche, but I find myself approaching less than impressed by Common's latest effort, 'Sweet.' Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the attitude, sentiments, and untagged shots Lonnie is letting off on this track, but I can't just bring myself to truly enjoy this song. And I've been trying for a while now, considering Common is one of the few artists that inspires that brand of loyalty in me. After all, this is the man responsible for making Resurrection, and he's teaming up with the producer responsible for the bulk of that album on his new project. Even more exciting is the fact that so much time has passed since the last time both men worked together (they've both grown in a musical sense, with varying results - yeah, that's a shot) and I've always yearned for a reunion over an entire project, so the fact that it looks as if it's actually going to happen is ridiculous. I'm pleased.
That being said, something isn't clicking for me so far. Yep, this is the part where I extend my criticism to the other songs Common and No I.D. have released in the past few months ('Ghetto Dreams' and 'Blue Sky'). I'm probably just being an asshole "fan," but I'm just not hearing what other folks like me (i.e., rap nerds) are hearing. It's almost as if people are excited by default because Common is working with No I.D. again, results be damned. The peanut gallery (twitter) seems to like 'Sweet' more for the fact that Common was seemingly angry at something/someone than for the quality of the music. I read zero compliments about the production or the verses. In the same vein, 'Blue Sky' received a stamp of approval because Common wasn't simping or making another "party" track. The best of the bunch is probably 'Ghetto Dreams,' because let's face it, it's almost impossible to fuck up a song with Common AND Nas produced by No I.D. - even if no one wants to admit that the production was less than imaginative and more than lazy (that scratched hook was not it, I expected so much more).
And that last sentence kinda brings me to what I've been trying to say for two bloated and unnecessarily cruel paragraphs: the beats fucking suck. There. I said it. Common's performances are perfectly acceptable, if not memorable, but the fact remains that if Papoose (the Kang of NY) hasn't ganked your shit for a crap freestyle (or anyone else for that matter), then maybe those beats are uninspiring. That's fucking tragic, because No I.D. is responsible for some of the more inventive shit we've heard this year - 'Primetime' from Watch The Throne and most of Medium Sean's album (matter of fact, No I.D. made that shit more than tolerable - I'll admit to Finally Famous being kinda good if you can stand Sean the Groper's mostly shitty rapping). So for Common to keep whiffing (again, this is my opinion, but feel free to come see me at my blog or on twitter - I love the slander) on these tracks is more than a little troubling for me. Perhaps my tastes have changed for the worse, or more likely, I'm just being a prick, but Common and No I.D. have managed to rid me of my excitement for this upcoming album.
On the bright side, there's no way The Dreamer, The Believer will be any worse than Finding Forever. That is a sonically impossible occurrence because Finding Forever is the sound AIDS made right before it took Eazy-E from us, so I'll take some minute solace in that. I'm sure you're thinking: "What about Electric Circus and UMC? Those albums sucked!" True, in a sense. In those instances, Common had an excuse for those albums not being all they could have been because he was experimenting - ambitiously I might add. What's Finding Forever's excuse? But that's not why I typed all this shit. We'll debate that some other day.
For now, I'm just praying to #BasedGawd to ensure that this new shit doesn't suck. And if that fails? Well, there's always that shit Lonnie said he was going to make with Q-Tip. There's no way that could go sideways. Right?