Electric Circus



by The Jungler USER (183 Reviews)
June 5th, 2006 | 13 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

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.

Come Close 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.

Standout Tracks
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.



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user ratings (152)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brain Dead
June 6th 2006


I'm with Iluvatar about Common. I have his album Be, and I was thoroughly unimpressed. But it was a good review.

June 6th 2006


Nice job, Dan.

The Jungler
June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

I think this is better than Be because it is more consistent, but Be has some songs that blow most of this out of the water.

June 6th 2006


Common is sick, I haven't heard anything on Electric Circus, but Be and Resurrection are two of my favorite rap albums

This site needs more hip-hop reviews, especially borderline mainstream and indie, dunno maybe I'll find some time, I like rap almost as much as metal

Zesty Mordant
June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 2.0

eh, this probably my least favorite Common album. The album itself is very inconsistent and the whole notion of the psychedelic experimentation itself sounds very forced, which in turn seems to hamper Common's rhyming. He just sounds very stiff on this record.

Also the Neptunes-produced tracks seem like they are just there out of necessity and "Jimi was a Rock Star" is just plain awful.

Other than that, nice review.

June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I like this album more than Be. Be really wears off after repeated listens, right to the point where I only really dig half of the songs anymore. This album doesn't have that problem, the only track I don't listen to on here is Star *69 (PS With Love). I Am Music is one of the best songs Common ever made, right up to par with G.O.D., The Light and I Used To Love H.E.R.

Still, this album is only number 4 in my rating of Common's albums. Resurrection, Like Water for Chocolate and One Day It'll All Make Sense are all better.

The Jungler
June 6th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

This site needs more hip-hop reviews

Yeah, definitly.

The album itself is very inconsistent

I disagree

"Jimi was a Rock Star" is just plain awful.

I agree with this though

Still, this album is only number 4 in my rating of Common's albums. Resurrection, Like Water for Chocolate and One Day It'll All Make Sense are all better.

I need more Common, I think I'm listening to Like Water for Chocolate next.

Thanks for the feedback everyone.

June 7th 2006


Like a fast car i cant afford i would want then want some more.

January 29th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

Common went left on this but gave it a good shot.

November 8th 2013


ELECTRIC (electric)- WIRE (wire) - HUSTLE (hustle)

my nigga common's got stereolab on here lmao

September 27th 2021


Album Rating: 2.0

Jimi was a rock star lmao smh

April 2nd 2022


Album Rating: 4.5

Lowkey this is Common's best album

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