Common: The Dreamer/The Believer

The Dream/The Believer
(Think Common Music Inc.)

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As the title of Common’s new album, The Dreamer/ The Believer, suggests, the rapper aims to bring some inspiration with his 12 new tracks. Unfortunately, alongside that positive message is a whole lot of typically “common” rap attitude, which confuses the message.  Despite its shortcomings, fans will be pleased with Common’s trademark wordplay plus the amazing beats from producer No I.D. who’s at the top of his game.

The standout tracks, like “Celebrate” and “The Believer” featuring John Legend, are positive but conflict with the equally strong, street tracks like “Ghetto Dreams” featuring Nas, and the Drake dis “Sweet,” which presents the most impassioned rhymes. “The Dreamer” is a track that sums up the rapper’s issues on the album so its appropriate that it gained some notoriety after Maya Angelou, who’s featured on the track, spoke out about his “N”-bombs and while the two quickly patched things up for the sake of solidarity, her point is well taken because the piece gets watered down thanks to plenty of unnecessary self-aggrandizing.  Common came from the streets and is wildly successful according to anyone’s standards, so there’s no need to state the Grammy’s yours when you already have two in the closet along with your Armani, films, and autobiography.

So even though Common fails to reach his true potential this time around, the album still holds up.  As Dr. Angelou said “We’re all in process,” so we’ll give Common a break on the B.S. and hopefully someday he can be compared to John Lennon by someone other than himself and learns to dream bigger.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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