Tim here again, filling in for the sweetest writer Woosey and now is the time I really took over and introduced you to something new. For those who don't know Lonnie Rashid Lynn (more commonly known as the rapper/actor called...erm 'Common') is a big name in movies and music. From starring in 'Smokin Aces', 'Wanted', 'Terminator: Salvation' and 'Just Wright' to releasing classic albums like 'Be', 'Finding Forever' and 'Resurrection' Common's done a lot. He was even considered for the role of the 'Green Lantern' before Ryan Reynolds and has performed poetry for President Barack Obama. Last year he released another classic album and also penned an inspirational autobiography. Let's take a look at both.
ALBUM REVIEW: COMMON-THE DREAMER, THE BELIEVER
More uncommon sense.
It's been a great decade for Lonnie Lyn AKA 'Common', the artist formerly known as 'Common Sense'...hell it's been a great career. From telling one of hip-hop's greatest stories in 'I Used To Love H.E.R.', to going from the underground to the mainstream with the release of 'Like Water For Chocolate' this rapper has become even more common, going from being one hip-hop's cult icons to becoming one of it's biggest stars. The later 2000's saw two back-to-back Kanye West produced classics in the form of one of raps greatest albums 'Be', and further timeless greats on 'Finding Forever'. Now off the pages of an awesome autobiography 'One Day It'll All Make Sense' Com' releases more 'Forever Music' with 'The Dreamer, The Believer'.
This is Common's first album in three years. Some critics gave Common's last experimental album ('Universal Mind Control') the 'Electric Circus' treatment. In reality however, both these envelope pushing albums were great. Still, Common's inspirational, feel-good, spiritual rap is what fans like the best and believe that it's back in another classic album beyond your wildest dreams. Spurred by the scorching, hot, old-school to the artwork (look up the young Nas and Common single cover) Summer single 'Ghetto Dreams' this highly, hotly-anticipated, long-awaited album is big and is the legendary makings of this rap icons lasting legacy.
"Pretty with her eyes low, bunny buy a Bible/This the type that BIG said he would die for/It's type that I'd ride or stay alive for/Tatts on her back, looking all tribal/She know shoes like she know survival/Well put together, she weathers the storm/Seen her brother die so forever she strong!" Common raps with a new honed style, swagger and confidence. Nas counters with some classic rhymes of his own, spitting like his 'Nasty' days; "But I’m still single, looking for Cleopatra/African Queen, yo look at me, I’m a bachelor/Y’all in trouble, keep your girls behind closed doors/Cross your fingers, be happy I haven’t chose yours/She loves glamour bought her Vera Wang sandals/Valentino bags is my etiquette/My man is half hood, half class/Photographers, cameras caught us out there/The spotlight, I hope she can handle". This long awaited collaboration is set with chemistry and charisma. It's no wonder the two will be collaborating for a big album ('Nas.Com') that we can't wait for next year.
Still back to the now and this classic album Common begins things with 'The Dreamer' featuring the perfect prose of prolific poet Maya Angelou. It's clear to hear that Common's writing and rapping has got even better from it's already legendary status as Common get's creative rhyming; "Ferrari testers, Armani dressers/Rest assured, we getting festive in Miami now/Told ‘Ye I’m about to win the Grammys now/Getting Johnny Cash old white folks know me now/Standing close to the mic like I’m Kobe now". Common's confidence swaggers further on the clear, inspiring single 'Blue Sky', as he get's even more creative "Aston Martin king, Luther with dreams/The young Denzel the way I move through scenes/I’m like a preacher that once was a fiend/A story of change that came with wings/Pretty as the skyline, the sky is my eye line/Son of the most so from up high I shine/Suited in Prada, stay mellow like LaLa"
More Common Sense and his wonderful wordplay take his competition to school on the perfect insult 'Sweet'. then with more sickly rhymes Common strikes 'Gold', before the lyrical lament of 'Lovin' I Lost'. With iconic producer No I.D., collaborating throughout this classic, Common channels raps greats like Rakim and KRS-One. He spits fresh on 'Raw (How You Like It)', before hitting us with a big three of the opposition cloaking 'Cloth', the victorious 'Celebrate' and the opening 'Window'.
Still this album really hits it's highest note with its last one. As Common pitches for a collaboration with fellow G.O.O.D. Music great John Legend. 'The Believer', book-ends the 'The Dreamer, The Believer' album as well as 'The Dreamer' opener does. As Legend sings "They will talk about us/Like they talked about the kings before us", rap and souls best further their legacy. Of course no Common album would be complete without some of 'Pop's Belief' and of course no recent Common album wouldn't be complete without a platinum plaque and classic accreditation, which this C.D. is certain to garner along with the awards. The best hip-hop has to offer is back with one of his greatest yet. You can believe in 'H.E.R.' once again. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
BOOK REVIEW: COMMON-ONE DAY IT'LL ALL MAKE SENSE
Hope from the pages of Chicago.
"Being a poet is a powerful thing".-COMMON
This year this writer embarked on a trip to Chicago a decade and a half in the making. Since 11, since Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and the Chicago Bulls I've been drawn to this beautiful, classic city. Since modern music greats like R. Kelly and Kanye West changed the tides of the Windy City music scene my ear has been lent even more. Over the last decade however one man from this city of Illinois has drawn me in further...even before President Barack Obama. That man is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.
"The First Emotion I Ever Felt Was Love".-COMMON
Otherwise known as Common. The rapper/actor has really shown us common sense, heart, love and inspiration and influence through his music and lyrics and other work. He has defined rap in the last decade with two positive moving and barrier-breaking albums (the back-to-back 'Be' and 'Finding Forever') that changed the game for the better like his groundbreaking classic 'I Used To Love H.E.R'. Even if he questioned it to begin with, without a doubt the writing of a book was always the logical and meaningful next chapter for this hip-hop spokesman. So here we have it, 'One Day It'll All Make Sense' (named after one of his breakthrough albums), a true to its name story of how everything in life comes together.
"'Be' was a great time in my life as an artist. I felt like I had risen to another level of artistry and fame".-COMMON
Common's story is really one that you want to absorb in all it's inspiration an love. It's the kind of wonderful read that will take you on a journey all day as you strive to take it all in on one, quiet Sunday, coffee shop tour of your town sitting. This book makes for the perfect Christmas present that you just want and need to come early. Legendary writer Maya Angelou is right this is a "magnificent memoir" full of marvellous memories of an amazing life. One that took part in a million man march and saw the election of the first black President. One voice of a race and generation that has seen and been a part of major change.
"What has kept me going through all the struggles I've faced in my life? The love of God. The love of family and friends. The love of hip-hop."-COMMON
As you really turn the pages this book will fill you with laughs, contagious enthusiasm and inspiration, you may also shed tears as Rash sheds light on his life and those he's lost with beauty and poignancy. From his humble beginnings in Chicago to his world-wide success, chapter by chapter of his life is told by Common and his mother Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines in inspiring italics. From feeling the effects of the brutal murder of Emmett Till to meeting another Chi-town icon while being a ball-boy for the Chicago Bulls to his success in music and movies it's all here. From his close brotherhoods with super producers Kanye West to the late, great, legendary J. Dilla (rest peacefully) to the acting advice from forefathers and icons Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman.
"Being an actor has helped me to articulate my feelings with greater clarity and precision".-COMMON
Common even gives light to the loves in his life from singer Erykah Badu to tennis ace Serena Williams as well as the places of the world that have had a profound effect on him from Cuba to China. This book also gives us some funny stories with Prince and insight into his triumph over the Fox News criticisms of his White House appearance. In this frank, honest but fair and considered memoir Rashid also shares his thoughts on his beef with West-Coast legend Ice Cube and his evaluation of his President, truthfully saying; "Whatever Obama has failed to do to satisfy certain people's political agendas has been far exceeded by what he's achieved on the level of our spirits".
"A man knows who he is and has a sense of responsibility for himself, his family, and his community. A man believes in something and stands for it. He does his best to practice what he believes".-COMMON
Each chapter (named after one of his aptly titled, iconic songs including 'Love Is' and 'Retrospect For Life') starts with a beautiful, heartfelt letter to someone in his life from his mother to Erykah, to his younger himself or his unborn son. This personal piece of writing makes for a book that is more than Common's love for 'h.e.r.' or his silver-screen dreams. It's a testimony to God, love, family and positivity, the cornerstones of his successful life. On one of his biggest hits; 'The Corner' this poetic rapper told us; "I wish I could give you this feeling". Well it looks like he finally has. A feeling of life, love, friendship, family and artistic integrity. This is a book for anybody, hip-hop head, movie buff or not, religious or spiritual, single or married with children. This is a book for anyone that believes that being good and gaining ones definition is not a tale of fiction but a story we all write for ourselves. After all that's just common sense. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
"My aim has been to inspire and raise consciousness".-COMMON