Review Summary: Universal Mind Control is a jazz-influenced rapper trying to make dance music for the hordes of club-oriented rap fans. Simply put, it's boring, uninspired, and dull to the point of anger.
In recent years, Common has been worshiped like a hip hop warrior for all of our souls. Appreciated by critics, the common man, and just about everybody else in between, Common has become one of the most popular rappers with some sort of lyrical ability. It’s hard not to either, his last few albums have been excellent works of hip hop, even his last album, which while was called boring by a few, most appreciated the album as another excellent effort for the rapper. However, that album was probably the worst effort Common had ever put out, boring beats and somewhat uninspired flowing, and yet because of his lyrics, the album was automatically acclaimed. Unfortunately for the experienced rapper, Universal Mind Control, the rappers eighth album, lacks everything that made the rapper good.
Universal Mind Control is Common’s second attempt at serious experimentation. His first attempt was on Electric Circus, and this album was incredibly successful, mixing elements of soul, electronic, hip hop and many other genres making for an enjoyable release. This album is similar to that, but a bit more oriented towards club hip hop, and the fact that that album was way more inspired than this is. Common flows like all he wants to do is make a couple dollars by appealing to the ladies. Drab and bland dance beats galore, every song is boring to the point of insanity. On this album, Common even lacks the lyrical ability of the mainstream rappers that manage to make these uninspired dance track enjoyable, lacking the innovation or the charisma that he used to have.
In a way this album is fairly similar to 808s & Heartbreak of his label mate Kanye West. They’re albums that both experiments with a poppier sound, and both will probably represent a dramatic decline in fanship. The only difference is that, while both are fairly boring, 808s & Heartbreak at least hints at making emotional pop music, whereas Common’s new album lacks even that. Universal Mind Control is an absolute failure on Common’s part, with one feature saving it from being a flushable piece of crap (catchiness), and that feature is already way to present in music anyways. Not even die-hard Common fans will like this album.