Common This Is Me Then: The Best of Common

This Is Me Then takes it back to when Common had "sense” and a solid-coloured kufi. It’s hard to believe that you could fit an entire legacy like his on one disc, which is why this is just volume one, spanning only his first three albums. Like cohort Nas’s greatest hits album released a few months ago, Common’s is sequenced chronologically, which is great for tracing the changes and overall maturity in his music. It’s interesting to hear him switch from "I’m trippin-and-dippin-and-slippin with the rhyme like Slimer” ("Take It EZ”) to "I’m walkin’, findin’ myself in God” ("Retrospect for Life”), all in one hour. While newer fans will raise brows, and older fans will disagree with the track list, not-fans-at-all will get a chance to learn the evolution of modern conscious rap. (Relativity)