Common : The Dreamer/The Believer
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Common : The Dreamer/The Believer

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Common (aka Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.) and civil rights activist Maya Angelou have opposing views when it comes to the rapper’s use of the n-word, but their wider political vision is intrinsically the same. Common’s ninth studio album, The Dreamer/The Believer, opens with The Dreamer, which culminates in a poem by the highly influential American author, poet and recipient of the Presidential Medal Of Freedom.

 

One of the finest exponents of conscious hip hop in the modern era, Common has delivered his best album since the exceptional Be (2005) as he dives ferociously into themes of dreams, self-belief, God and overcoming obstacles. Common’s witty rhymes, eclectic tastes and smooth flow are injected with an intensity and depth that renders Blue Sky, Sweet and Gold so invigorating. However, Common remains on trial for allowing a hypnotic track like Ghetto Dreams to contain such woeful lyrics.

 

Complemented by John Legend’s warm chorus hook, The Believer is undoubtedly the stand-out track on this elevating record. In following Common’s cry of “Do they end up in a coffin because we haven’t taught them”, Legend’s glorious croon (“I believe in the light that shines and will never die”) is not only life-affirming, but reiterates the dreams that are expressed in Pops Belief: “Live the life you believe: the American dream; the Black American dream; the universal dream.”

 

BY CHRISTINE LAN

 

Best Track: The Believer

If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Gutter Rainbows TALIB KWELI, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) PHAROAHE MONCH, God’s Son NAS.

In A Word: Persuasive