2000 release, the fourth album from the Hip Hop star. The album was a critical and commercial breakthrough for the rapper and received numerous awards around the world.
How can such a self-righteous rapper be so much fun to hear? Common, like so many carrying the banner for alternative hip-hop, casts himself as the enemy of all things commercial ("That jiggy shit is over / The war is on, I only wanna be a soldier / I'm holdin' on to a culture"), yet he also insists on getting paid. Like Water for Chocolate
is full of such contradictions: while often exciting, Common also maddens with his casual homophobia and sneers at those he sees as lesser artists. He doesn't lack a sense of humor, though, as witnessed by the likes of "A Film Called (Pimp)" (featuring MC Lyte) and titles such as "Payback Is a Grandmother." The latter track is something of a conceptual coup, expanding Common's pro-family message into the realm of a cinematic revenge fantasy against some thugs who rob one of his relatives. Such displays of imagination--and the thick, layered funk throughout--ultimately make this a superbly playable disc. --Rickey Wright