• S
    • M
    • L
    • XL
    • XXL
      • XXL
      • XL
      • L
      • M
      • S

Common: Universal Mind Control

COMMON
Universal Mind Control
(G.O.O.D./Geffen)

When it comes to dance-ready raps, Common’s catalog traditionally gets bounced at the club door. His previous two masterful efforts—2005’s Be and 2007’s Finding Forever—were both beefed up with ghetto PSAs, atop Kanye West’s organic instrumentation, resulting in bobbing domes yet rarely moving feet. Looking to gain access to the VIP section, Common enlists The Neptunes’ services to energize his eighth LP, Universal Mind Control.

Promptly starting the party, Common spaces out to futuristic synths on the lively title track, a frantic, genre-blurring adrenaline rush reminiscent of Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock.” The Zulu Nation founder isn’t the only old head who gets a nod—the Chi-Town MC dons a Sugarhill Gang–like cadence when chronicling his coming of age on the rocked-out “What a World” and emulates the Jungle Brothers on “Sex 4 Suga,” a dedication to his favorite clear-heeled stripteaser. Unfortunately, in reverting to old-school flows, Com’s wordplay weakens, especially on the latter, where he lobs halfhearted advances over a flimsy make-it-clap backdrop: “Your physique/Brings out my freak/I like the way your body speaks.”

But Universal inspires more than pop-locking. Common serves blush-worthy innuendos on the lethargic “Punch Drunk Love” and hosts a lyrical clinic over scratches and pots-and-pans percussion on “Inhale.” Likewise, punch-line deficiencies are sated with the two-fisted standout “Gladiator,” where Lonnie Lynn slays challengers over lashing snares and horn squeaks: “Your guys got you gassed/My flows are hybrid.” Still, the carefree storytelling and blissful chimes on the Cee-Lo Green–assisted “Make My Day” maintain the album’s overall high-energy vibe.

While occasionally too euphoric (the gleeful “Changes”), Universal’s good times don’t roll forever, capping at a trim 10 tracks. Ultimately, the quit-while-you’re-ahead approach helps rescue Common’s most experimental album since Electric Circus from becoming a musical freak show. Offering a brief intermission from neighborhood narratives and boom-bap sound-beds, Com proves that, sometimes, backpackers just wanna have fun. —JOHN KENNEDY

  • Crash

    Finding forever was a better album. I liked the Universal Mind Control single and the Gladiator track. Other than that the album was not like his typical self.

  • TheRefriedMexican

    WETHER IT BE XXL MAG OR “THE SAUCE” MAGAZINE OR ANY EAST COAST BASED MUSIC RAG. THEY & YOU ARE ALL WAITING FOR THAT COMMON CLASSIC LEGENDARY OUT OF THIS WORLD ALBUM! YOU ALL WANT IT SO BAD. WELL IT’S NEVER GONNA HAPPEN! THIS ALBUM COMPARED TO OTHER COMMON ALBUMS IS MEDIOCRE!
    ++++++
    ++++
    ++
    +

  • Seb

    where are all the good lyricist? oh wait well grade hurricane chris xl and chamillionaire and common and L for their latest efforts, are you fucking serious?…..now i understand public demand demands more mainstream so i dont mind you writing about ti but then you complain that people are listening to trash……This album was a breath of fresh air creativity wise…..had movement and so dope thematic songs……you can’t hate on a solid effort like that…..”and all the trash teh people talked he was using that for fuel, WAOO”
    -Seb

  • http://www.flixya.com/video/2050850/Sexual-Massage-18 massage sexy clip

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • http://w.massagehow.com/ sexy women massage

    Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  • http://massage2007.com/ sexy body massage video

    My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!