Common The Dreamer, The Believer

Common The Dreamer, The Believer
After the glow stick electro flop of Universal Mind Control in '08, Common has decided to return to his roots. The Dreamer, The Believer is produced entirely by No I.D., the beat maker behind the Chi-town MC's first three albums. "Ghetto Dreams" pairs Com with Nas over pounding drums and a hypnotic guitar loop to boast about chicks, with both rappers sounding reinvigorated by the other's presence. "Sweet" delivers Com's best verses in years, while "Lovin' I Lost" is a heartfelt reflection on break-up, backed by a silken Curtis Mayfield sample. These songs are rare joys in the midst of a dull, regressive trod through ground already well-worn years prior. Where a younger Common once balanced clever punch lines with acute sensitivity and thoughtfulness, the 2011 Com spews half-formed platitudes and darts that Big Sean would write off as being too asinine. ("Seen that ass cause I got hindsight"? C'mon, Com!) Despite a few highlights and No I.D.'s mostly excellent production, The Dreamer, The Believer stands as strong testament that you can't always go back. (Warner)