Gotta start this off by saying this album is masterpiece. Dude, Common is rapping his ass off and having an album entirely produced by Ye and Dilla is a rapheads dream. It took me a minute to get into it though, since I mean…it’s Common. I was not aware of his shit when I was coming up, but whenever I would hear him (usually somewhere out of place) I didn’t like it. He has this reputation of being the “Oh, he’s rapping…cool” type of rapper. Does that make sense? Like, we all know Common can spit, but after a while that gets fucking boring. Be is different though. Maybe I’m biased because he’s rapping over amazing beats, but Common sounds super focused on this album. Whether he’s rapping about interracial relationships, threesomes, or whatever the hell else Common decides to rap about he’s gonna paint a very vivid picture by using a lot of words.
Honestly, you can skip the first two songs. You will still have a good experience with this album if you do, but the first track: Be (Intro) does do a very good job of catching your attention it starts off with some spaced out notes from an upright bass then this synth comes in and you’re like “Where is this going?” Then the strings hit you like BLAM! Very hard to keep your head still while listening to it. Common’s verse is like the icing on the cake, but you can skip it. The Corner is pretty much the same case, it’s an alright song, but if you skip it just to get to GO! you’re not missing anything but a very good Kanye beat. Okay, now the good part. Holy shit the nine songs that come after those two are phe-fucking-nominal. GO! sees Common at his freakiest, but he keeps it so smooth that you don’t even notice. Common uses a lot of words yo, so much so that he’s talking about having a threesome with a pastor’s daughter and it sounds mundane. Like we all just doing that. That’s the Common effect. Testify shows off how good of a storyteller Common is. He raps about a drug dealer going to jail and taking the blame for everything his wife did. While he’s rapping he draws you in and you start to get really into the story and what’s going to happen next. If I didn’t already say it that ending would’ve actually shocked you. The Food is another highlight. This version was recorded on Chappelle’s Show and this is one of the first songs I ever remember hearing. Of course Common comes in with an ambush of words, but that beat is so infectious that you just get lost in that and forget that people are rapping until Kanye comes in with the hook. Then, since Kanye is a genius he uses the audience’s applause as a transition into my personal favorite track from the album Real People. The way Ye chopped up this sample is so fire. All of the instrument don’t trip over each other, and there’s a lot. The saxophone is what makes me melt. It reminds me of T.R.O.Y by Pete & CL just by how smooth it is and how it immediately catches your attention.
Then to end it off Common, Kanye, James Poyser, Karriem Riggins, Bilal, Dilla, and Common’s fucking Dad all come together to make one of the most fire songs ever made. Part One of It’s Your World is a perfect way to end this album off man. It’s all about making a way out of no way and how you shouldn’t let your environment deter you from following your dreams. Then, amidst all of this inspiration Common’s pops comes in with a rule-set for life. Shit is beautiful man. He talks about Black Ownership, Black Identity, and bettering yourself while using the past as an example of what not to do. It’s an excellent way to end the album: A decree spoken by Common’s father over James Poyser’s magical keyboard playing.
I love this album and I often find myself revisiting it and listening to the entire album because it’s just that good. I wrote almost a thousand words on this shit! I don’t do that for that just anything.
Listen to Be Here
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