Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Funky and thoughtfully crafted Hip Hop from Common

I was doing a little research today for my post and I read an incredibly interesting and informative article about Hip Hop. It starts out with a history lesson and goes on to explain what is meant by a regional sound (East Coast vs. West Coast, South, Midwest). There are even sample tracks to illustrate what he’s talking about. I think over time as rappers borrow from each other and share influences, the whole regional sound thing is becoming less true and less significant, but you still hear people talk about “the Chicago sound” and “West Coast rappers.” This article boils it all down into a 3-minute read.

I was looking into this was because I’m recommending a Chicago artist and wanted to talk a bit about the Chicago sound. My two favorite rappers today are from Chicago. One is Lupe Fiasco, whose hit Kick Push you could probably not have escaped hearing, and who absolutely rocked my face at Bonnaroo in 2008. The other – whose record I am recommending today – is Common (I wanted to like Kanye West, but he has more or less made that impossible).

A master craftsman at the top of his game.

A master craftsman at the top of his game.

It’s pretty likely that you’ve seen and/or heard Common because he’s been at it since 1992, has won a couple Grammys, and has even been in a bunch of movies (Smokin’ Aces, Street Kings, American Gangster, Wanted, and Terminator Salvation). He also made an appearance on The Dave Chappelle Show and on Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. Even so, not everyone who reads this blog is a fan and his work is so good I want to be sure you are tuned in. I look forward to every Common release and get it as soon as it’s available. His 2007 release, Finding Forever, was particularly good and it’s the one I want you to check out today. I like this disc end-to-end, but these 3 will give you a good feel for what he does.

  • U, Black Maybe – Creative use of the vocal sample. It’s sped up to give it an Alvin and the Chipmunks sound, but that, the clockwork percussion, and the dreamy keyboard riff create a great sonic canvas on which Common paints the tale of black people trapped in cycles of poverty. This song is heavy.
  • Forever Begins – I recommended this track before on my Feel Better mix. Layers of vocals, a funky beat, and an uplifting chorus back him on this. He talks about where he came from and the track closes with his father speaking for a couple minutes, dropping some wisdom on us.
  • Drivin’ Me Wild – Lilly Allen helps him out on this one on his favorite formula: cool and layered background vocals and a solid but funky beat. Pay special attention to his flow on this track because it features perhaps the best rapping on the disc.

Unless you just don’t like Hip Hop, I can’t see how you could listen to these three tracks and not be a fan afterwards. Check out all of his stuff because while not everything he cooks up is dessert, he creates moments like this on every album.

http://www.thinkcommon.com/

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July 22, 2009 - Posted by | Hip Hop

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