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Sunday, June 12, 2005
  He'll save every one of us

Common - The Corner (feat. the Last Poets & Kanye West)
Public Enemy - Terminator X to the Edge of Panic

The keyboard in the opening bars of Common’s mostly Kanye West-produced new album Be sounds like a Casio version of the “Happy Birthday Lisa” song that Bart & fake Michael write in that one episode. I kind of thought I'd accidentally downloaded the ringtone. Then the drums come in & it makes more sense. I’m still working my way through the rest of the record as I type this but the first single “The Corner” has made me pay way more attention to Common than I have in some years. In all honesty it may have even been the video (directed by Kanye!?!), which begins with giant titles ala the opening credits of Panic Room superimposed over the Chicago lakefront (oh, home...(for those of you haven’t seen it, I’m looking at you Darkness, think the cover of that Lambchop record “Nixon”)). Then Common rapping in the front seat of a car driving the streets on a bitter looking winter day. The song itself begins with a sub-stutter of kick drum that immediately makes me think of “Terminator X to the Edge of Panic” until West’s trademark sped up soul sample drops instead of the JBs siren sound. You’d think he’d be tired of that trick by now but he’s not. And maybe even more surprising is that he somehow makes it work here, still. The drums lope along, doing their business, the Last Poets deliver their guest bit as the wise men on milk crates dispensing nuggets of info and Kanye’s little chorus couplets don’t overtake the song like he might if someone other than Common was behind the wheel. My current favorite part of the song is his ‘uh-uh, uh-uh-uh’ that follows the drums. Oh, and Common’s verses are pretty great, too.

Coming next: things you might love to hate - Joan of Arc vs. Scott Walker. Rejoice!!!
 
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