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Common

Like Water for Chocolate

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If you watch sales figures long enough, you might start to get dizzy from the flavor-of-the-week hip-hop acts racing up the charts as quickly as they crash back down. The genre's been in desperate need of someone with an agenda beyond the standard murder and mayhem, someone who's beyond the tired East Coast/West Coast turf wars.

Common could be that man.

The Chicago rapper's latest is one of the finest hip-hop discs of 2000. His tough talkin', straight-from-the-soul rhymes and reason pack a potent punch that's likely to appeal to fans of Tribe Called Quest, the Roots, and D'Angelo — the latter whom appears on the disc. There's not that much distinctive about the set's first few songs, but by the time Common settles into the supremely soulful, open love letter "The Light," he sets a groove that rarely slips the rest of the way.

Check out the irresistible feel of "Funky for You" or "The 6th Sense (Something You Feel)," a DJ Premier scratch fest with lyrical finesse recalling the best work of Gil Scott Heron. Common's got a sense of humor — listen to his twist on the pimp and prostitute cliches when he teams with MC Lyte on "A Film Called (Pimp)" — and he also brings a real musicality to the entire recording.

Call it Common sense. As the man himself says, "It's real hip-hop music from the soul."

Kevin O'Hare

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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