| The excitement and anticipation surrounding “Be” heightened recently when US hip hop bible XXL magazine, awarded the album its highest ‘XXL’ rating. Only three albums have previously attained this ultimate rating: Nas – Illmatic, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and Kanye West’s The College Dropout. |
Common’s relationship with Kanye stretches back to when the two Chicago natives were starting out in hip hop back in the day. Kanye has produced nine of the album’s eleven tracks with long-time collaborator Jay Dee handling production duties on the remaining two tracks. The tracklisting is as follows: 1) BE intro, 2) The Corner, 3) Go, 4) Faithful, 5) Testify, 6) Love Is, 7) Chi City, 8) The Food, 9) Real People, 10) They Say, 11) It’s Your World, 12) So Cool (bonus track). Featured guests include The Last Poets on ‘The Corner’, John Mayer and Kanye West on second single ‘Go”, John Legend and Bilal on ‘Faithful’, Maimona on ‘Testify’, John Legend on ‘They Say’, Bilal, Mr Lonnie Lynn (Common’s father), Kids and Maimona on ‘It’s Your World’.
A native of Chicago and onetime ballboy for Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, Common Sense debuted in 1992 with the “Can I Borrow A Dollar” album and followed up with “Resurrection” in 95 before making his breakthrough two years later with “One Day (It’ll All Make Sense)”.
It was however with ‘Like Water For Chocolate’ (2000) that the Grammy–nominated rapper reinforced his reputation as one of the most talented and reflective hip-hop artists of his generation.
Like Water for Chocolate also signalled Common’s emergence as a member of the Soulquarians—a collective of musicians that includes Roots drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, beat-maker Jay Dee and keyboardist James Poyser, among others—which reconvened in January 2001 to produce the bulk of Electric Circus.
“Be”, Common’s sixth studio album, sees him going back to the source, Chicago, and alongside long-time friend and fellow Chicago native Kanye West, making a straight up classic hip hop record.