Can I Borrow a Dollar?

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Can I Borrow a Dollar?
Common - Can I Borrow a Dollar.jpg
Studio album by Common Sense
Released October 6, 1992
Recorded 1991-1992
Genre Hip hop, Midwest hip hop
Length 49:34
Label Relativity Records
Producer No I.D. (Immenslope)
The Beatnuts
Twilite Tone
Common chronology
Can I Borrow a Dollar?
Singles from Can I Borrow a Dollar?
  1. "Take It EZ"
    Released: September 2, 1992
  2. "Breaker 1/9"
    Released: January 12, 1993
  3. "Soul by the Pound"
    Released: July 13, 1993
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
RapReviews (7/10)[2]
Rhapsody (favorable)[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[4]
The Source 3.5/5 stars[5]
WordPress (favorable)[6]

Can I Borrow a Dollar? is the 1992 debut album by Chicago rapper Common, (then known as Common Sense), released in the United States on October 6, 1992. The album was entirely produced by No I.D (then called Immenslope), The Beatnuts and Twilite Tone. It contains guest vocals from Immenslope, Miss Jones and Common's then-girlfriend Rayshel. Entertainment Weekly's Neil Drumming described it as "a clever but little-noticed first album".[7]



In 1991, a feature was written about Common in the Unsigned Hype section of The Source. Relativity Records soon signed Common, and prepared to release three singles for his debut album. The first and best-charting single, 1992's "Take It EZ," boasted an upbeat 2 pc. DRK production. "Take It EZ" reached #5 on the Hot Rap Singles chart while his next two singles, "Breaker 1/9" and "Soul by the Pound," reached #10 and #7 respectively. All of these singles combined to give Common a strong underground reputation prior to the album's release.[8]


Can I Borrow A Dollar? shows Common's earlier style of rapping; namely a sing-songy and inflection-heavy vocal delivery, as well as lyrics packed with word play and popular culture allusions.[1][2] The album's production, utilizing samples, keyboards, and drum breaks prominently, tends to be minimalistic, jazzy and laid back.[1] The Source called the production top notch.[5] Although receiving a lukewarm reception, Stanton Swihart of Allmusic considers it to have put Chicago hip hop on the map and to be an underrated debut album. [1]

Track listing[edit]

On vinyl releases, the first six tracks are considered to be on the 'Dollar Side' of the album, while the next seven tracks are on the 'Sense Side'.

# Title Length Performer(s) Producer(s) Production Credits Samples
1 "A Penny for My Thoughts" 4:23 Common Immenslope
2 "Charms Alarm" 4:30 Common Immenslope
3 "Take It EZ" 4:08 Common 2 pc. DRK (Immenslope & Twilite Tone)
  • Keyboards: Lenny Underwood
  • Saxophone: Tony Orbach
  • Contains samples from "When Will the Day Come" by Rasa
  • Contains samples from "In The Ghetto" by Eric B. & Rakim
4 "Heidi Hoe" 4:29 Common The Beatnuts
5 "Breaker 1/9" 4:01 Common Immenslope
6 "Two Scoops of Raisins" 5:28 Common, Immenslope Immenslope
  • Bass: Kenny Aaronson
  • Contains samples from "Red Baron" by Billy Cobham
  • Contains samples from "Tappan Zee" by Bob James
  • Contains samples from "Papa Was Too (Live)" by Joe Tex
7 "No Defense" 1:14 Common Twilite Tone
8 "Blows to the Temple" 4:39 Common Twilite Tone
9 "Just in the Nick of Rhyme" 2:30 Common 2 pc. DRK (Immenslope & Twilite Tone)
10 "Tricks Up My Sleeve" 3:21 Common, Rayshel Immenslope
  • Keyboards: Lenny Underwood
  • Bass: Kenny Aaronson
11 "Puppy Chow" 4:01 Common, Miss Jones (background vocals) Twilite Tone
12 "Soul by the Pound" 4:20 Common Immenslope
13 "Pitchin' Pennies" 1:58 Common Immenslope

Chart positions[edit]

Album chart positions[edit]

Year Album Chart positions
Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums
1993 Can I Borrow a Dollar? 70

Singles chart positions[edit]

Year Song Chart positions
Hot Rap Singles
1992 "Take It EZ" 5
1993 "Breaker 1/9" 10
1993 "Soul by the Pound" 7


  1. ^ a b c d Swihart, Stanton. "Can I Borrow a Dollar? - Common Sense". Retrieved March 24, 2007. 
  2. ^ a b Jost, Matt. "Can I Borrow a Dollar? Review at". Retrieved March 24, 2007. 
  3. ^ Rhapsody review
  4. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 187. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  5. ^ a b Album reviews at CD Universe
  6. ^ WordPress review
  7. ^ Drumming, Neil (May 30, 2005). "Confidence Man at". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 13, 2007. 
  8. ^ Huey, Steve. "Common Biography at Allmusic". Retrieved March 24, 2007.