Common – Universal Mind Control
It’s always a catch22 to see an artist emerge from the underground after 15+ years of steady grinding. As a fan you want them to be able to grow and get the money and the accolades equivalent to the skills they possess. But like any artist, in any genre, once you hit it big, the sound is never the same. Universal Mind Control is Common’s 8th Album. I wasn’t feeling the single very much, but just on loyalty alone, I had to cop it and add it to the other 7 [they would be lonely]. Perhaps the single, Universal Mind Control, was a message about the MAN? Nah it’s just about dance music, “Stylin’…and Being Fly” [lol]
Common – Inhale [prod. Neptunes]
I’m going to drop some mathematics. Universal Mind Control is 10 Tracks deep. Of the 10, 4 represent the quintessential Common sound and flow: Announcement, Gladiator, Changes ft. Muhsinah and Inhale. Of the remaining 6, you have 3 mandatory chick joints: Punch Drunk Love ft. Kanye West, Make My Day ft. Ceelo and Sex 4 Suga [still trying to figure that one out]. And the last remaining 3, including the latest single are the New Age-Disco-Dance-Cocaine tracks: Universal Mind Control, What A World ft. Chester French and Everywhere ft. Matina Topley Bird..
Now don’t jump to conclusions, when I say cocaine tracks, I mean it’s those tracks you hear in dance clubs where they partake in Lindsay Lohans and Jessica Simpsons all night. The 80’s are really back, and everybody nose, for real! [The question is, whose going to be the next Phil Collins?]
To give Common his just due, he did say that “this is the type of music I felt was missing from my body of work”. If that was what he was trying to do, he did it. All in all as album, it was solid as hell. This is the thing though: for Common, not so much. The lyrics were there on them 4 tracks, but the rest of it he was just tipping his hat to the 80’s on some old skool flow. That’s cool, but, I pass. If I want to hear 80’s rap, I’m goin to put on the Cold Crush Brothers. If I want to hear 08′ rap, I should be able to do that on an 08′ album–that’s just how i feel. Production wise, I had no complaints except for a few lazily produced Neptunes joints, [they contributed to the majority of the album], the rest was left up to Mr. DJ who did his thing.
The Verdict: A great album by anyone’s standards, a little off putting because it was Common and not Andre 3 Stacks or even the homie Beans whose been doing music like this for a loong minute. [Hey I’m just saying though.]