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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Common Denominator

Common aka Common Sense..I remember picking up his tape "Can I Borrow a Dollar?" way back in the day, before he dropped the "Sense" part of his moniker (due to a lawsuit or conflicting band name already using it). As whiny and strange as his original style was on that 1st tape, I was into it, and became a fan instantly. A rapper from Chi-town, unchartered territory in the game back then. From there he's gone on to release albums that have really slid under the radar, until his latest "Be", which is considered a classic in hip-hop circles. He experiments with funk, soul and R&B fusions and raps about topics such as love, being a man and caring for a baby (if its yours) and other messages of hope and inspiration. His latest song is "A Dream", from the "Freedom Writers" soundtrack. Produced by of Black Eyed Peas, it carries a Martin Luther King inspired message and powerful lyrics; "I walk with a bulge on my shoulder, its a cold war, I'm a colder soldier, hold the same fight that made Martin Luther the King, I ain't usin it for the right thing". Common's ability to introspect and criticize himself, hip-hop and societal problems through poetry is top notch. His next anticipated album, to be released in 2007 is "Finding Forever", which should be as hot or hotter. Definitely 1 of the biggest releases to check for in the new year.

That said, Common has been named a "Next" star for 2007 by a magazine. He has 2 film roles coming up. One alongside Denzel, Russell Crowe and TI in a film called "American Gangster", a remake of a classic 1970 crime drama and another in "Smokin' Aces" with a host of stars including Jeremy Pivens (also of Gap ads, and "Entourage" fame). He's a current spokesperson/pitch for Gap on TV/internet/magazines and has even worked in a NY store designing T-shirts for them. You can't hate him for that. It's intelligent name-branding and why not bring his name more into the light than before. The guy has good music and messages to offer, that the people should hear. Promoting himself isn't shameless, it's helping bring a good version of hip hop to more people who might misunderstand it. His next album, "Finding Forever" with more production from Kanye West, is due out in June of 07.

For assumption's sake, most hip hop fans know of Common and his importance in hip hop today.. If not, take the time to familiarize yourself with Common's music.. He's a budding superstar who doesn't forget his roots or the essence of his music and message. A rapper who speaks from the heart and soul without watering it down for the radio..Imagine that?

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