Common seems to have reached that sweet spot in a rap career where he can get away with a “man of many faces” act on a record and it not ring hollow. I mean, you know an album is going to be an interesting one when one of the first things you hear is Maya Angelou.
Shifting seamlessly between Chicago-style bravado on “So Sweet” and grown man reflection on “Love I Lost” and “The Believer,” the entire album feels like you’re seeing different pieces of the same human being--which can be refreshing in contrast to the over-the-top cartoonishness of some modern rap.
It’s worthwhile to mention that Chicago producing legend NO I.D. (aka the guy who gave the world Kanye West) helms the entire album’s sound, a partnership that defined Common’s first three albums. Sometimes all it takes is dancing with the one that brought ya. Highest recommendation.