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Monday, December 22, 2008

Universal Mind Control - Common

(((Rating: 3 Notes)))

Bangers: UMC, Punch Drunk Love, Announcement, Inhale & What A World.

It has been said to me that Common has re-birthed hip-hop on this album। I am a bit unsure of the validity of that statement since his album Finding Forever was considered flawless in my opinion. So, I hope you will sit back and relax with me as I explore his current project Universal Mind Control. Let's do it...track by track once again!

Intro/Universal Mind Control - As the album opens, we are welcomed in French to Universal Mind Control. Then here comes that familiar synthesizer, Pharrell's voice and the beat that gets me out of my seat every single time! "'s got that dang dang dang de bom" Awesome opener and club-banger!

Punch Drunk Love - "Ay baby, am I crazy or was you givin' me the eye, you said maybe, well ya crazy because I know I'm too flyyyy...", Kanye chimes in his sing-songy voice. And yes, the song is fly and carries with it the Common Kanye arrogance that we have gotten to know. No pun intended. Common rides the music very well as he borderline-metaphorically games a woman. Definitely a banger. :)

Make My Day - This song surely doesn't stop the party as Cee-Lo sings, "yes you really make my day". In the background we hear various sounds that are reminiscent of space sound effects and more synthesizers and bells. You will like both Cee-Lo and Common in this feel-good uptempo song. Common describes his love-interest again as his playful lyrics "drip from his lips".

Sex 4 Sugar - Hand claps. Heavy Synths. Common raps seductively as he speaks the hook, "Sex 4 Sugar, Sugar 4 Sex..." This song could be said to be sticky and sweet with the looped beat and electric vibes. Not a fav but not likely to skip this one either.

Announcement - "I'm finna take it to the tip-top baby". The beat alone and Commons announcement from the start will surely catch the hip-hop crowd and old Mobb Deep, Biggie and Lil Kim fans. This features Pharrell as well and honestly his verse makes me think of Lil Kim and how hot she may have been on this one! "This is hip-hop baby..."

Gladiator - The songs starts with an old-sample then goes into a looped bass beat and a scattered ragtime-esque piano, while horns intermittently play. Not sure who produced this one but it makes me think of 9th Wonder or J-Dilla immediately. Maybe even Kanye but I will need to research this more. Common flows with the beat very well as though he is walking over the beat in victory.

Changes - Rain. Nature. Whistles. Bird Chirping. And Commons rap sounds as though he walking thru a forest and discovering new instruments. We then hear Muhsinah sing the hook, "I know that change gon come..." And honestly, as beautiful a song it may be....makes me wanna skip it. It sounds like a dream sequence type song. Next.

Inhale - Loud synths. Very catchy beat. "Inhale" and I'm waiting to find out what he may grace my ears with and it's nice! Common raps as he is "a scribe of the streets" and drops knowledge and definition on us. We come to love Commons classic metaphors here once again!

What A World - I hear a skate/old-skool jam when I hear this song and I can't even skate! Very funky kick drums and guitar riffs! Common raps in a Kurtis Blow-'these are the breaks...'-esque way! Very catchy! :)

Everywhere - Immediately when I hear this song, I think of Studio 54, drugs, neon colors and Euro-trance. The beat alone is very techno and trance-ish although this may not be a bad thing. Common is trying something very different here. This song makes sense of the album cover which looks like he may be in a trance. The female voice is welcomed. Not a fav but interesting nonetheless.

I had to be sure that it was only 10 songs because this is an unusually short album. I have a sorta mixed bag of feelings about this album. I do not feel he has re-birthed hip-hop but I feel he may have blown fresh air on it. :) Would I buy it? Yeah, maybe just cause it's Common. :) "This is that new shit..."! :)

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