- 17 Sep 19
Patchy outing for groundbreaking rapper
Veteran MC Common is back with his 12th studio record, Let Love. For the uninitiated, Common is the greatest rapper to come out of Chi-town bar maybe Kanye. He revolutionised hip-hop in the '90s, and subsequently turned the game on its head with his 2005 opus, Be. The dude has a serious legacy carved out, and these days he's free to indulge in whatever creative detours he fancies. For example, this album coincides with the release of his new book, which has the synchronistic title Let Love Have The Last Word.
Let Love, for its part, gives us glimpses of greatness, thanks to a handful of pensive and soulful tracks. Take the smooth opener, 'Good Morning', with its vintage keyboard line and sweet hook, sung by Samora Pinderhughes. It's actually a tremendous start, with the similarly lush 'Forever Your Love' - featuring BJ the Chicago Kid - even recalling Let's Get It On-era Marvin Gaye. Common's perspective is that of a wise rapper who's cut his teeth in the game. He's not still pretending to be a tough young gun like, say, Eminem.
Unfortunately, for every thoughtful track, there seems to be a rushed one, such as 'Fifth Story'. Featuring perhaps the corniest bar of the year - "Vanilla icing with the strawberry/ She was lactose/ So she barely ate dairy" - it's definitely one to forget. Then there's the inexplicable blandness of a tune like 'My Fancy Free Future Love'. Ultimately, Common is an old dog not trying to learn any new tricks. He's content with his legacy as one of the greats of hip-hop, convinced that he doesn't need to prove anything anymore. Still, we'd have hoped for better than this notably uneven effort.