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Be Explicit Lyrics
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|1. Be (Intro)|
|2. The Corner|
|6. Love Is...|
|8. The Food|
|9. Real People|
|10. They Say|
|11. It's Your World|
Common returns with his highly anticipated 6th album, 'BE', which is executive produced by proven hit maker Kanye West. In keeping with Common's unpretentious approach to 'BE', the album's guest appearances are kept to a refreshing minimum: Besides frequent collaborator Bilal and John Legend, the only other co-stars are Consequence and, of course, Kanye West along with The Last Poets, whom enhance Common's lyrical portrait of inner city blues on the first single 'The Corner'. MCA. 2005.
Though heralded as an instant hip-hop classic by some, Common's Be doesn't quite live up to the hype, though it is still has several strengths going for it. Compared to the esoteric themes and production of his last album, Electric Circus, Be is far more grounded in street-level beats and rhymes, especially on songs like "The Corner" and "Real People"--Common's odes to personality and places 'round the way. At only 11 songs, this is a very compact album, both a blessing and curse by keeping the pacing brisk but it also amplifies weaknesses like the syrupy crossover attempt, "Go," or overly sentimental "Love Is." Production by Kanye West and Jay Dee is uniformly strong and it lends a consistency that is essential for such a relatively short album. It is worth noting that Common and Kanye's chemistry is especially well matched. -- Oliver Wang
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Top Customer Reviews
Being thoroughly impressed with Common's last output "Electric Circus", I was super excited as I bought BE from my local music shop on the Tuesday it was released. On the way home in the car, I popped it in, and was not prepared for what I would hear.
BE is not what I expected from Common for his sixth release. Kanye West had taken what I loved about Common's rhymes out, and replaced it with (not terrible, but just unoriginal) music that would boost him to the top of every MTV countdown. I much prefer the production touches of The Root's ?uest Love. Everything blended the same, and those girly background voices that Kanye uses irritate me to no end. The only tracks even remotely worth listening to more than once are "Go" and the intro.
Common was once an intellectual, diverse MC covering all issues with care and style, but now has been moulded to appeal to the G-Unit fans. First Jay-Z, then Talib Kweli, and now Common?? Kanye, focus on your own albums (which are mediocore at best) and leave these delicate productions to the pros.
Find some real hip-hop on Common's old albums, and enjoy what hip hop was meant to be. Save your money, and pass on this radio favorite piece of junk.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
At this time, Common was dating neo soul singer Erykah Badu and this would influence him on his next CD, "Electric Circus". This CD was unlike any other CD that Comon had released to date. The vibe seemed to be real mellow and you could tell that Common was "in love". However, I also thought that Common just wanted to try something different. Rappers seem to be afraid to step outside of their box for some reason. Although, Common had a hit with Mary J. Blige entitled "Come Close", many Common fans thought that he had lost his "fire" when it came to his lyrics and his overall style.
I have to admit that I had doubts but I knew that Common was just one moment away of proving me wrong and all of the nonbelievers wrong as well. That moment would come on Kanye West's "College Dropout" CD. Ladies and gentleman, if you have not heard this verse please go buy Kanye's CD IMMEDIATELY!
Common spits nothing but flames on a song with him, Talib Kweli and Kanye entitled "Get 'Em High". My nonbelieving ended at that moment. Then at the end of a Dave Chappelle episode on Season 2, Common and Kanye performed a song that I would later find out was called "The Food" and Common ripped that track as well. I knew after those 2 moments was that the Common that I had known all of this time was still here. Once I found out that Common had signed to Kanye West's label, GOOD Music, (Getting Out Our Dreams), I knew that Common was here to stay and that his best music was yet to come.
Now some people can argue that "Resurrection" is better but in my opinion "Be" is the best CD that Common has released to date. The buzz was started early on this CD with the first single, "The Corner". Kanye is featured on the chorus with The Last Poets and Common tells you about the streets of Chitown and the streets in general over 3 quality verses. On the next single, "GO!", Common, Kanye West and John Mayer, YES John Mayer, collaborated on this track after they had seen the movie Ray. The final product has Common going through a slew of what we will just call "Fantasies". Common is very clever with his lyrics and wordplay and "GO!" ends up being a brilliant choice as a second single. On "Faithful", common goes back to his "Electric Circus" side but he is breaking down plenty of points of views at the same time as he wonders if he would treat women differently if God was to be known as a woman instead of a man. After hearing this song a couple of times, you may even change your train of thought about women in general. "Faithful" also contains John Legend and Bilal on the voclas as well. "Testify" is definitely one of the best songs on this CD as Common takes you through a brilliant tale of deception about a case. This woman that is distraught over her man being charged with serious crime deceives everyone about her actions and as Common ends the track youeventually find out that she is the one that actually committed the crime, AKA the Queenpin as Common calls her. "Love Is" will remind alot of people of "Come Close" without Mary J Blige actually being on the song. The track is still brilliant as Common still isn't afraid to express his sensitive side eventhough Ms. Badu is now out of the picture. "Chi City" demonstrates how Common is still one of the best lyricists in the game as he rips the Kanye beat to shreds. DJ A- Trak and DJ Dummy deserve an A+ for the scratches on the track as well. "They Say" features Kanye and John Legend on the track as the three collaborate well together. This song seems as if this will be the next single if there is a 3rd single on "Be". "Real People" and "It's Your World" have Common tackling alot of issuses and he has you thinking about what he is saying at the same time.
There is nothing negative that I can say about this CD at all. Common could have had more than 11 songs on this CD, that is true but if he would have had 15 tracks on this CD and 4 of them weren't good like many artists do today then it's just like having 11 quality tracks. Now Common could have included the slammin' "The Corner (Remix)" with Mos Def & Scarface but that's another story. Simply put this is Common at his best. If you do not have "Be" in your music collection, it will be hard for me to call you a real fan of rap and hip hop music in general. You can also catch Common on Kanye West's "Jesus Walks (Remix)" with Mase and on a nice track with Kanye and Malik Yusef entitled "Would You Like To Ride" which cleverly uses a nice A Tribe Called Quest sample.
James' Top 5
THIS IS A REAL HARD TOP 5 SONGS TO PICK BUT I WILL TRY:
1) The Corner
4) Chi City
5) The Food or Real People
I've recently just crossed the last genre boundary in my musical universe. I've become an unabashed and passionate hip hop head. After years of ignoring or actively hating the music, I'm just clicking with hip hop in a way I never have before. Perhaps it's living in Brooklyn, one of the great hip hop centers in the country, or working with young people and staying "relevant" but a music that I couldn't take for a long time is now one of my favorites. I like it all...underground, gansta, and mainstream. And of all the mainstream MCs Chicago's Common may be my favorite.
Common is often considered a "socially conscious" MC. Basically this means he's deep in the tradition of black urban griots typified by the Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron. Common's material is taken from the streets of South Side Chicago, Stoney Island Ave and Cottage Grove especially. But his view of black city life is deeper than most gansta rappers. Though there is crime and violence in Common's lyrics, these are transcended by themes of love, self-determination and deep honesty. Be represents a return by the MC to form and perhaps even his strongest CD to date. Be features productions by Kanye West and the late great Jay Dilla. Kanye in particular give his particular lush production to the CD. Kanye may indeed be the Phil Spector of Hip Hop and your response to his work may be tempered by your feeling about Spector's wall of sound. Kanye reaches for something similar, which smooths out the edges of this work. Still, it's impressive work and fits Common's updated 70s imagery well.
This CD is short but packed with powerful songs, stories and images. Highlights include the opening track, with a marvelous instrumental by Kanye that mixes funky seventies jazz and funk with a lyric that mix social commentary and spirituality. The Corner actually features members of the Last Poets in a poetic picture of life in a Bronxville corner. Faithful is an arresting track, which posits what might happen if God were female. The track becomes a beautiful commentary on sexual and spiritual fidelity. The Food is a track which was performed on Dave Chappelle's show and features both Common and Kanye. It takes the gansta perspective and turns it on it's head, showing the gansta as a family man trying to make it.
My favorite track in the final track, It's Your World. Common tells stories from the hood. His characters are failing, crack heads, unwed mothers, people for whom the "dream" of seeing California is as unattainable as going into space is for most of us. The track then continues with the voices of children talking about their dreams and then finishes with Common's father given some of the most beautiful and poetic advice I've heard on record. It never fails to move me, often making me weep. The contrast in the track between the world as it is and the world as it could be is deeply poignant.
Be is not quite a perfect album. A few tracks I think fall a little short of Common's poetic abilities. Go for instance is a catchy track, but doesn't say anything new or interesting about sex that hasn't been done by so many other MCs. Also, the album is very short, clocking in at only a little over forty minutes. But these are small complaints. This CD is one of the best of 2005 and a triumphant return to form by one of mainstream rap's most talented and insightful poets. This is the album to get if you think hip hop is boring, intellectually simpleminded or drivel. It's smooth and good to the ears and yet full of deep images. Common is the Gil Scott Heron of our time...high praise indeed.
This is Common back at what he does best. Dusty, authentic, scratchy, old 70's R&B/Jazz samples with straight-ahead rapping. Tremendous production from Kanye West gives us some of the best beats heard on a newer hip hop album.
This has a great atmosphere to it, a tight compact theme. This is taking hip hop back a few years, but that's fine because there hasn't been a whole lot of outstanding hip hop in the last few years. This one sounds like it'll age nicely. Highly recommended.
1) Be (Intro) - I know this might sound crazy, but this beat is one of my favorite beats that I have ever heard. Kanye's production here is absolutely awesome. There is probably no better way to start off an album, the instrumental alone is classic, but Common's lyrics on top of it make this track amazing. A great way to kick off the album.
2) The Corner - The intro leads in very nicely to the first single, and again, another sick beat laid by Kanye. Here though, Com's lyrics outshine the beat, especially the first verse.
3) Go! - This one features John Mayer, a somewhat odd combination, but his vocals are very minimal and only on the hook. I like this song but my only problem with it is that much of the track is the hook being repeated again and again. Another verse by Common would have made this track better.
4) Faithful - Kanye goes back to the well here with the high-pitched vocal samples and Common explores the question of whether God is a male or female. John Legend and Bilal appear at the end and absolutely kill their background vocal part, a nice way to finish off this track.
5) Testify - Again Kanye comes with a nice beat, but this one is all about Common. He tells the story of a murder trial that has quite an interesting turn of events at the end. This is a great showcase of Com's storytelling abilities.
6) Love Is... - As the title suggests, this one is about love. It seems like it's getting repetitive, but the beat and lyrics here are both nice as well.
7) Chi-City - This is one of the standout tracks on the album to me. The beat is a bit different than most of the prior beats, a bit more rugged, and Common drops absolutely great lyrics here. This takes it back to the days of Can I Borrow A Dollar? and Resurrection, some classic Common right here.
8) The Food (Live from Chappelle's Show) - At first I thought that a live version wouldn't be as good as a studio version, but I was proved wrong. Kanye laces a nice beat and Common complements it with some nice lyrics. My only complaint here is Kanye on the hook gets a little annoying after a while.
9) Real People - This is a rather odd beat, the best comparison I can make is that it reminds me of some 80's TV show theme song. That sounds corny, but I like this beat as well. The beat isn't the story here though, Com's verses are. He drops some great lyrics and this is really a showcase of Common at his lyrical best.
10) They Say - This is another standout track. Kanye laces a crazy beat, I love the piano. Common spits two verses, Kanye spits one, and John Legend does the hook. Com's second verse in my opinion outshines all the rest. John Legend comes through as usual with a soulful, brilliant hook, and Kanye drops a verse that would sound better if he weren't spitting it on a track with Common, because Common is simply the better rapper. Overall though, a great track, one of the best on the album.
11) It's Your World Part 1 & 2 - The final track on the album brings the album to a close nicely. Not the best track on the album, but solid nonetheless. At the end Pops shows up as well which is always welcomed at the end of most of Common's albums.
Even though this album is only eleven tracks, it still will, in my opinion, go down as one of the best albums in quite some time. Too often now people substitute quality for quantity, but a short album can be great if you put the time and effort into each track, as obviously was the case here. Illmatic was arguably the greatest hip-hop album ever created, and it was only ten tracks. Be isn't quite in the class of Illmatic, but by modern standards, it could be considered as a great album. The replay value is very high, I am still listening to this the year after I bought it and I plan to be listening to it for a long time as well. We can only wish that all albums released nowadays could be given as much thought and effort as this. Common really created a gem here, and if you thought Common was over the hill after hearing Electric Circus, you were wrong. Like the man himself said, "Heard The Corner now they say that n*ggas back."
Be (Intro)-Produced by Kanye West, it has a throwback appeal to it and it's short, but the words say a lot.
The Corner-Produced by Kanye West and featuring The Last Poets, here Common is talking about the "corners" that are riddled with crime, with drug infestation but all corners have a story. Interpreting the song, it's as if Common is asserting that no matter what one may generalize, those on the corner have a story to tell. They have success stories. They have reasons for what they do. This was his first single, which failed to really make any gains on radio, but the accompanying video was great. Contains elements from you Make the Sun Shine as performed by The Temprees. A
Go!-Produced by Kanye West and featuring Kanye West and John Mayer, this is one of my favorite cuts. It's the perfect blend of throwback soul and soulful rock. John Mayer is one of my favorite Pop/Rock artists, and his singing the "go's" adds a dimension to the song. Common's spitting during the verses is on-pitch, on-point with the perfect emotion given to it and the right timing, which some rappers struggle with. This was the second single, and it performed better than The Corner. It has an energy to it where it's danceable, and it's sexual, but not too, too sexual. There are so many elements to it that it's not what the song's all about. It contains a sample from Old Smokey. A+
Faithful-Produced by Kanye West and featuring John Legend and Bilal with elements from "Faithful to the End" by DJ Rogers, this is simply a musical masterpiece. The song raises some interesting aspects as it connects faithfulness to God with faithfulness to a woman from a man. It raises the question of if God were a woman, would we treat women the same. Couple that interesting perspective with two of the most, current soulful singers, John Legend and Bilal, who give an impassioned breakdown during the bridge. The song makes you think. It's listenable, and it's just, simply tight. Common also spits the rap with the right fire and energy. It should've been released as a single. It actually was rotated in Chicago on Urban stations. A++
Testify-Produced by Kanye West and containing elements from "Innocent Til Proven Guilty," the third single from the CD which has one of the most innovative lyrics and unique videos of any Hip-Hop songs in the last year. Hearing the song with its percolating tempo, the wise use of the samples, I never paid attention to the lyrics until the video was released, and I realized how tight the song was as it uses irony/suspense to great effect. It should have been a breakthrough hit on radio, as the song is simply tight, but it has managed to do pretty well. A+
Love Is...Produced by DILLA and containing elements from "God is Love" as performed by Marvin Gaye, this slow jam talks about love being something that is expressed not only in affluent, priviledge communities. It's everywhere. Even if it seems as if it's not there, "love" is everywhere and the fact that it is needs to be respected by everyone. Common interprets the rap just right, and the song is laidback especially compared to the "go-get `em (ness)" of the previous cuts, but it works. A
Chi-City-Produced by Kanye West with interpolations from "Since I Found My Baby," the song talks about aspects of Chicago which can be applied to any city in general. It's a great song, overall speaking truth about aspects that are forgotten about. The vintage beat is also pretty tight. A
The Food (Live)-Produced by Kanye West with elements of "I Never Had it so Good" and "Nothing Can Change This Love" Kanye and Common performed this on The Dave Chappelle Show, it does not even really sound live, but as with all of Common's songs, it's saying something about how life is...the food that needs to be put on the table and doing what it takes to get it there. It makes you think about inner-city, struggling lifestyle in a different way than just as it being negative or to be shunned. A
Real People-Produced by Kanye West, the title says it all as Common talks about "real people," the people that are so forgotten about, that are swept underneath the table and that fall underneath the prominent radar, but the "people," the important people. He even makes mention of Bob Marley and other legends who are passed watching over the condition of society. It's a great song with a vintage, throwback feel to it. A
They Say-Produced by Kanye West, featuring John Legend and containing elements of "Ghetto Child" as performed by Ahmad Jamal, this is another tight song. It's modern with a vintage twist. The verses are tight. The hook is catchy. It's making a statement. Kanye turns in a good rap as well. A+
It's your World (Parts 1 & 2)-Produced by DILLA, James Poyser (Mariah Carey, Anthony Hamilton) and Karriem Riggins with elements of "Share What you Got" as performed by The Modulation, this is an autobiography of Common's life, his struggles, but it's inspiring and motivational. During Part 2, Common's father, Lonnie "Pops" Lynn, gives an encouraging, deep spoken word. A+
To sum it all up, when I hear artists like Common, like Jay Z, like Nas, like Kanye West and a few others, it lets me know that Hip-Hop is not dead, that there is still hope. Common gives, commands and demands respect for those who live a hard-knock life as he tells the story of so many of the silenced while also motivating those people that it's their world, that they can "be" all they want to be.... that these "real people" can "go" anywhere they want no matter what "they say" if only they remain "faithful" and "testify" to their intrinsic greatness. As an aspiring teacher, this CD reminds me that it needs to be emphasized and known that as Jesse Jackson stated "genius" is everywhere. God does not just put genius in rich areas. The ghettos are full of unheard geniuses. The tightest aspect of this CD is that it could be used in classes, in college classes and its lyrics can be analyzed like classic poetry. How many modern Hip-Hop CDs, I'm talking about the whole CD can you say that about? I also must say that I think that Kanye West and John Legend should team together and cut an entire collaborative CD...one of the best producers/rappers teamed with one of the best lyricists/ rappers teamed with one of the most classic but modern soulful pianist/vocalist would be a musical masterpiece. It's also good that Common has experienced a commercial renaissance with the CD having sold around 750,000 copies and well on its way to Platinum as only one of his efforts have achieved. It's a great CD for anyone to have because it's speaking "truth" through and through.