Common is smooth. There is no other way to describe. He has a legendary free-styling ability, which makes his lyrics quite an interesting read. Common’s vocal style is very laid back. It seems like he drops every line of the top of his head at random, but he has the kind of voice that you just want to rally around and cheer on. What I mean to say is that Common is much more powerful speaker (in rapping terms) that say 50 Cent or Kanye West. And it doesn’t matter whether he is rapping like a gangster like on “Electric Wire Hustler Flower” or singing a love song like Electric Circus’s big single “Come Close”. Common is also incredibly versatile, he can rap a Roots-esque performance like on “Soul Power” and then pull out an Eminem-esque performance like on “I Got A Right Ta”
The beats Common throws down on are equally as smooth. Most of Common’s beats have a large jazz influence, and sample a lot of jazz. But not all the songs feature laid-back production “New Wave” and “Electric Wire Hustler Flower” features the heavier, more intense side of the beats on Electric Circus and “I Am Music” features a very cabaret sounding beat. So it isn’t uncommon to find upright walking bass parts and older sounding drum pattern as well standard turntable wizadry, synthesizers and strings under Common’s vocals. Producers on Electric Circus include the most decorated hit makers of the day The Neptunes and Root’s drummer ?uestlove among others. My favorite of the Neptunes produced songs also happens to be the single.
is a gem if modern rap has ever seen one. Common’s rapping is so great on this song it is hard to describe. Come Close, being the love song on the album features vocal appearances by R&B queen Mary J. Blige and one half of The Neptunes, Pharrell Williams both deliver equally stunning performances. Both Blige’s and Common’s (the main singers on the tune) performances are some of the sexiest I have ever heard on any song. The beat on “Come Close” is possibly the best beat on the album, comprised a mellow electric piano, jazzy drums and an upright bass line it could stand up on it’s own as an instrumental but paired with said superb vocals it creates one hell of a song.
Common’s lyrics are just as good as his voice and the album’s production, if that came at all as a surprise. He has more flow than any other major label MC I have come across, and he writes his own lyrics. He delivers some of the more sensitive rhymes I have heard like She rested her head upon my chest. Sensed liberation in between breaths
Wonder if sex is what she found it in Peace, found it laying down with men Wasn't there to judge her, many ways I loved her It was more than bodies we shared with each other
(Taken from Between Me You & Liberation which features Cee-Lo) and some of the most powerful Shit is so hot that the sun watch Children by the window with the gun cocked They could get robbed and stop the luck Monkeys dance around for MTV spots
. This versatility shows why Common should be considered one of the best MCs and lyricists in modern times.
All in all Common’s fifth album Electric Circus
doesn’t have much wrong with it, in my opinion. Common himself is superb and the guest producers and vocalists only make Electric Circus better. The ambient jam on the second to last track id the only thing that really hinders it. Highly recommended to fans of Jazz Hip/Hop or any form of Hip-Hop for that matter.
Come Close- A Hip-Hop love song of the highest standard
New Wave- An intense versed song with a beautiful chorus.
Between Me, You & Liberation- A powerful, emotional song
I Am Music- An upbeat piano driven cabaret inspired track
Heaven Somewhere- Ten minutes of spoken word, ambience, Hip-Hop and some of the best artists in Rap.