Be (Common album)
|Studio album by Common|
|Released||May 24, 2005|
Sony Music Studios
(New York, New York)
(Clinton Township, Michigan)
|Genre||Hip hop, neo soul, quiet storm, jazz rap, spoken word|
|Producer||Kanye West, J Dilla|
Be is the sixth studio album by American rapper Common, released May 24, 2005 on GOOD Music and Geffen Records. Primarily produced by hip hop artist Kanye West, the album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart with 185,000 copies sold in its first week. It is Common's second album to sell over 500,000 copies (over 800,000 copies sold) and was certified Gold by the RIAA. Be was also a critical success, receiving general praise and accolades from several critics and music publications. The album received a perfect "XXL" rating from hip hop publication XXL magazine.
Be was touted as Common's comeback album after the commercially disastrous Electric Circus. His previous album lacked promotion following MCA Records's absorption under Geffen. His new alliance with Kanye West helped to spark public interest in the project, as the album was produced by West and released by his own label GOOD Music. "I met Kanye in '96…" he said. "He was still in high school. He used to come around No I.D.'s house, a guy that used to produce for me. The thing I noticed about Kanye was that he could really rap! He had some kind of hunger that I hadn't really seen before."
"He's today's Marvin Gaye of rap," West enthused on a DVD accompanying a deluxe edition of Be. "Buy the album. If you in a situation where you can barely buy groceries, burn the album."
The results show that Common was clearly aware, and perhaps agreeing, with the negative criticisms about Electric Circus. In comparison to that album, Be is lean, immediate, and commanding, yet also restrained in its musical ambitions. Many[who?] believe it to be his safest album, although Brooklyn native rapper Israel The ILLa Real has stated that Be has influenced him in making his first album "I Fell In Love With H.E.R." Of the reaction to the album, the rapper said: "I don't think Electric Circus was as focused. Though I'd done some progressive hip-hop, people know me as the b-boy. When I showed them something different, a different style of b-boy, there were like, "Hold up. You can be Afrocentric, but what's this rock shit that you're doing?" Many of the beats created by West, and which Common rejected for the project, later appeared on West's studio album Late Registration.
“ I named it Be to be who you are, man, and be able to be in the moment and not try too hard. Be is another way of saying just do without trying hard, like I said, natural and be true to the core of who you are; and this album, I wanted to just be and not just go and exist as just an artist, not worried about the past. ”
Common gave his reasons for featuring controversial spoken word recording artists, The Last Poets, on the album's first official single, "The Corner": "They gifted at writing. They voices is incredible. They took my song to a higher level. And that's what hip-hop was about to me. It would have a message. It would take you to the next place. It was fresh as people say -- something new. They brought newness to what "The Corner" was and they also brought some nostalgia, too. Just them being from the '70s and being used in hip-hop and their spirit brought something pure to it. They gave me a better understanding of the corner after that. I knew those who had been listening to hip-hop would know who the Last Poets were and if they didn't they would feel it in their souls sooner or later. And I also felt good about introducing some of the youth to the Last Poets."
From the album Be
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"Go" was the album's second, and highest charting single. The song featured Kanye West and John Mayer, however all the verses are performed by Common. The video for the song included shots of Common surrounded by numerous models.
The album's third single, "Testify" received a type of promotional video known as a "mini-movie"; a term coined by Michael Jackson to describe a music video with a complex plot and a suitably long running time, often with intermissions between the song's parts. The video featured acting parts from Taraji P. Henson, Bill Duke, Steve Harris, and Wood Harris, and received notable spins on specialist channels such as MTV2. The song samples "Innocent Til Proven Guilty" by Honey Cone.
The album so far has a score of 83 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "universal acclaim". XXL gave it a score of XXL (equivalent to all five stars) and said, "While label support and the times heavily influence whether great music can be crowned a classic, if nothing else Common has created a flawless album. By giving us himself completely and speaking to and for us as complete people, he's birthed the total package. Common has raised the bar. Hopefully, a year from now we'll look back and see that MCs have been rhyming like Common since. Vibe gave it a score of four-and-a-half stars out of five and said that it "gets to the root of human experience--all the while staying beautifully soulful and funky." The New York Times gave it a favorable review and said it was "certainly a triumph, but if it isn't quite the all-time classic Common was hoping for, that's because it sounds a bit too straightforward." Tiny Mix Tapes gave it a score of three-and-a-half out of five stars and said, "Regardless of the modernist leanings of Kanye's techniques, the album retains an organic feel that rivals Com's hemp beanie and Erykah Badu's incense." Q also gave Be four-and-a-half out of five stars and considered it to be Common's best album.
Be was nominated for four 2006 Grammy Awards:
- Best Rap Album, for Be
- Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, for "The Corner" (featuring The Last Poets) (from Be)
- Best Rap Song, for writing "Testify" (from Be)
|1||"Be" (Intro)||L. Lynn
|Kanye West||J. Poyser (keyboards)
D. Hodge (acoustic bass)
|2||"The Corner"||L. Lynn
|Kanye West||Kanye West
The Last Poets
|Kanye West||J. Mayer
DJ A-Trak (scratches)
N. Amuntehu (percussion)
J. Poyser (keyboards)
K. Lewis (sample recreation)
|6||"Love Is..."||L. Lynn
|J Dilla||Luna E
J. Poyser (all instruments)
|Kanye West||Kanye West
DJ A-Trak (scratches)
DJ Dummy (scratches)
|8||"The Food" (Live)||L. Lynn
|Kanye West||Kanye West
DJ Dummy (scratches)
|9||"Real People"||L. Lynn
|10||"They Say"||L. Lynn
|Kanye West||John Legend
|11||"It's Your World (Part 1 & 2)"||L. Lynn
James Poyser (co)
Karriem Riggins (co)
K. West (keyboards)
J. Poyser (keyboards and strings)
K. Riggins (percussion)
|Canadian Albums Chart||1|
|U.S. Billboard 200||2|
|U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums||1|
|U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums||1|
|2005||"GO!"||Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks||31|
|Hot Rap Tracks||21|
|The Billboard Hot 100||79|
|"Testify"||Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks||44|
|"The Corner"||Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks||42|
(*) designates lists that are unordered.
The information regarding accolades attributed to Be is adapted from AcclaimedMusic.net.
|Aftenposten||Norway||Albums of the Year||2005||#18|
|AllMusic||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||*|
|Amazon.com||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#37|
|Associated Press||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#7|
|B92||Serbia||Albums of the Year||2005||#7|
|Billboard||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#5|
|Dagbladet||Norway||Albums of the Year||2005||#13|
|Dagsavisen||Norway||Albums of the Year||2005||#18|
|E!Online||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#17|
|Expressen||Sweden||Albums of the Year||2005||#17|
|Go-Mag||Spain||Albums of the Year||2005||#17|
|H Magazine||Spain||Albums of the Year||2005||*|
|HARP||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#33|
|Hip Hop Connection||UK||The 100 Greatest Rap Albums 1995-2005||2005||#69|
|Iguana||Spain||Albums of the Year||2005||#3|
|Laut||Germany||Albums of the Year||2005||#42|
|Monitor||Croatia||Albums of the Year||2005||#34|
|Musik-Express/Sounds||Germany||Albums of the Year||2005||#36|
|Musikbyrån||Sweden||Albums of the Year||2005||#12|
|Natt & Dagg||Norway||Albums of the Year||2005||#14|
|OOR||Netherlands||Albums of the Year||2005||#12|
|People.com||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||*|
|Piccadilly Records||UK||Albums of the Year||2005||#4|
|PopMatters||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#12|
|prefix Magazine||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#19|
|Pure Pop||Mexico||Albums of the Year||2005||#5|
|Q||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#42|
|Rock de Lux||Spain||Albums of the Year||2005||#9|
|Rolling Stone||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#21|
|Spex||Germany||Albums of the Year||2005||#12|
|Spin||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#17|
|The Observer||UK||Albums of the Year||2005||#25|
|The Village Voice||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#15|
|URB||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||*|
|Vibe||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||*|
|WOXY||USA||Albums of the Year||2005||#58|
|Zundfunk||Germany||Albums of the Year||2005||#22|
- So Cool (produced by Sa-Ra) appears on the import version of the album.
- My Way Home (produced by Kanye West) appears as a Common solo track on Kanye West's album Late Registration.
- Be (Intro) (produced by J Dilla) appears on the mixtape Laced With Gems by DJ Eves.
- Pimpin' (produced by J Dilla) appears on the mixtape Laced With Gems by DJ Eves.
- XXL (2007). "Retrospective: XXL Albums". XXL Magazine, December 2007 issue.
- Mobo Awards tenth anniversary brochure, 2006
- PopMatters Music Interview | Resurrection: Common Walks
- Hamilton, Tiffany. "AllHipHop Feature - Common: Invocation". Archived from the original on April 5, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2007.
- "Common Interview at SixShot.com". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2007.
- Critic reviews on Metacritic
- Be (Common album) at AllMusic
- Robert Christgau review
- Fiore, Raymond (2005-05-27). "Be Review". Entertainment Weekly: 136. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
- The Guardian review
- Pitchfork Media review
- PopMatters review
- Rolling Stone review
- XXL review
- Vibe review
- The New York Times review
- Chadwicked (2005). "Common - Be". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
- "Common, Be (2005) — 25 Rap Albums From the Past Decade That Deserve Classic Status". Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Be at AcclaimedMusic.net". Retrieved April 27, 2007.
- Be at Metacritic
- XXL Calls 'Be' a Classic
- Common Hoping To Get Kanye To Work On His New Album Tentatively Titled "Finding Forever"