The Dreamer/The Believer

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The Dreamer/The Believer
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 19, 2011[1]
GenreHip hop
  • No I.D. (also exec.)
  • Common (co-exec.)
  • Derek Dudley (co-exec.)
  • Mike Chavez (co-exec.)
Common chronology
Universal Mind Control
The Dreamer/The Believer
Nobody's Smiling
Singles from The Dreamer/The Believer
  1. "Ghetto Dreams"
    Released: July 6, 2011
  2. "Blue Sky"
    Released: October 4, 2011
  3. "Sweet"
    Released: November 2, 2011
  4. "Celebrate"
    Released: November 21, 2011
  5. "Raw (How You Like It)"
    Released: December 13, 2011

The Dreamer/The Believer is the ninth studio album by American rapper Common. It was released in the UK on December 19, 2011 and in the US on December 20 through Warner Bros. Records alongside Common's newly launched Think Common Music Inc.. Common's longtime friend and frequent collaborator No I.D., handled the album's production entirely himself.[2]


Recording sessions for the album began in 2009, and was originally due for a spring release, but was not completed because Common wanted to concentrate on acting. The album was scheduled for an April 2011 release, but was pushed back to late 2011. The first single was "Ghetto Dreams" featuring Nas. The music video was Directed by Matt Alonzo and Executive Produced by Leah Harmony. It was released on iTunes July 6, 2011.[3] In preparation for the album's release, Common spoke with The BoomBox about how the LP was taking shape and that he and No I.D. were crafting the album in a more positive direction:[4] "It's going to be positive hip-hop. Hip-hop that can really generate good spirit, the spirit of the music and just good energy. I'm excited about the album 'The Dreamer, The Believer'. I feel blessed that I got to work with No I.D. I'm enthused to do hip-hop, which is something that I have to do when I feel it. It's the spirit and energy of hip-hop that made you just enjoy it and love the music and not feel like, 'Man, is this gonna sell?' or 'I sold this many.' It's stuff that made you feel something, it's stuff that you can use that inspired your life. I think about hip-hop like Brand Nubian and KRS-One and N.W.A and Rakim, that stuff inspired my life. Those things really shaped who I am."[4] The Target Exclusive Edition comes with two additional tracks.

The second single off the album was "Blue Sky" which was officially made available on iTunes October 7, 2011. The song samples "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra.[5]


After releasing the single "Sweet," the blog-sphere was ablaze with speculation regarding the song's possible target. Many hip hop blogs guessed the song might be about rapper Drake, as he often interjects singing into his raps and "Sweet" makes critical jabs at singing rappers. Common insisted "Sweet" was about anyone who feels it and not specifically written for any one person.,[6] but in concert in L.A., Drake fired shots widely seen as directed towards Common, and on January 6, 2012, Drake once again responded on a track called Stay Schemin' from Rick Ross' new mixtape Rich Forever. This resulted in Common remixing the same track with his own verse and the lines "I’m taking too long with this amateur guy, You ain’t wet nobody, n****, you Canada dry".[7][8] The feud has since settled down with the two eventually came face to face at the Grammys, February 12, 2012. Not long after the Grammys, the two were photographed together after Drake greeted Common at the NBA All-Star game.


Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
The Independent5/5 stars[9]
Allmusic3.5/5 stars[10]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[11]
Entertainment WeeklyA–[12]
Pitchfork Media7.6/10[14]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[15]
Slant Magazine3.5/5 stars[16]
USA Today3.5/4 stars[17]
XXL4/5 stars (XL)[18]
HipHopDX4.5/5 stars[19]

The Dreamer/The Believer received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 74, based on 26 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[20]

The Independent gave the album all five stars and said of Common, "That he manages to express such ethical and religious principles without coming across like a sanctimonious buzz-killer is quite remarkable."[21] In his Consumer Guide, Robert Christgau gave it a three-star honorable mention ((3-star Honorable Mention)) while picking out two songs from the album ("Raw [How You Like It]" and "The Believer"), and quipped about Common, "Still on a major label, he's damn well gonna act it."[22]

Even more positive results came in. DJ Booth gave it a score of four-and-a-half spins out of five and quipped, "Together the two vets have created a work that's worthy of some serious recognition."[23] HipHopDX also gave it a score of four-and-a-half out of five and said that every song "succeeds off the strength of Common and No I.D.'s seasoned chemistry."[24] RapReviews gave it a score of 8.5 out of 10 and stated, "This isn't an album of 1990's styles brought to 2012 - these are contemporary beats and rhymes that can hang with anything else coming out on the scene."[25] Consequence of Sound gave it a score of three-and-a-half stars out of five and said it "doesn't really spark until you fold in a few of the harder tracks."[26] BBC Music gave it a favorable review and said that Common "merges his raw lyrical roots with No I.D.'s voluminous soundtrack, resulting in a decent album far more celebratory than his previous work."[27] Los Angeles Times gave it a score of two-and-a-half stars out of four and said that Common "continues to impress and regress."[28]

Other reviews are average or mixed. Canadian magazine Now gave it a score of three out of five and said about Common, "Compared to his earlier work, it's just decent."[29] The A.V. Club gave it a C and called it "a passable album of mostly neutral jams and bare-minimum production."[30] Sputnikmusic gave it a score of two-and-a-half out of five and said it "shows him with his head in the clouds and addressing the same tired crowd with the same speech he's been writing for years."[31]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number eighteen on the US Billboard 200 chart, with 69,000 copies sold in its first week in the United States.[32] As of July 2014, the album has sold 154,000 copies in the United States.[33]

Track listing[edit]

1."The Dreamer" (featuring Maya Angelou)Maya Angelou, Lonnie Lynn, James Fauntleroy II, Ernest Wilson5:53
2."Ghetto Dreams" (featuring Nas)Lynn, Nasir Jones, Eddie Hazel, Wilson3:54
3."Blue Sky" (featuring Makeba Riddick)Lynn, Makeba Riddick, Wilson4:03
4."Sweet"Lynn, Wilson3:36
5."Gold"Lynn, Fauntleroy, Wilson4:19
6."Lovin' I Lost"Lynn, Wilson3:51
7."Raw (How You Like It)"Lynn, Sidibe, Riddick, Wilson3:55
8."Cloth"Lynn, Fauntleroy, Wilson4:34
9."Celebrate"Lynn, Fauntleroy, Wilson4:03
10."Windows"Lynn, Fauntleroy, Wilson4:00
11."The Believer" (featuring John Legend)Lynn, John Stephens, Wilson3:43
12."Pops Belief"Lonnie "Pops" Lynn4:55
Sample credits


Credits for The Dreamer/The Believer adapted from Allmusic.[34]

  • Jason Agel – Engineer
  • Maya Angelou – Composer, Poetry
  • D. Burton – Composer
  • Mike Chavez – A&R, Executive Producer
  • George Clinton – Composer
  • Common – Executive Producer
  • Blake Douglas – Assistant Engineer
  • Derek Dudley – Executive Producer, Management
  • James Fauntleroy – Composer
  • James Fauntleroy II – Vocals
  • Kaye Fox – Vocals
  • Kenny Gamble – Composer
  • Larry Graham – Composer
  • Eddie Hazel – Composer
  • Derrick Hodge – Bass
  • Leon Huff – Composer
  • Bob James – Composer
  • Rob Kinelski – Engineer, Mixing
  • David Kutch – Mastering
  • John Legend – Vocals
  • Cara Lewis – Booking
  • Sam Lewis – Assistant Engineer, Vocals
  • Kenny Loggins – Composer
  • Omar Loya – Assistant Engineer, Engineer
  • Lonnie Lynn – Composer, Poetry
  • Jeff Lynne – Composer
  • Curtis Mayfield – Composer
  • Percy Mayfield – Composer
  • Matt Morris – Vocals
  • Laurence Naber – Mixing Assistant
  • No I.D. – Executive Producer, Producer
  • Omoye – Vocals
  • James Poyser – Keyboards
  • Kevin Randolph – Keyboards
  • Makeba Riddick – Composer, Vocals
  • Hannah Sidibe – Composer, Vocals
  • Chris Time Steele – Vocal Engineer
  • J. Stephens – Composer
  • Todd Sullivan – Sample Clearance
  • Steven Taylor – Photography
  • The Twilight Tone – Scratching
  • Anna Ugarte – Assistant Engineer, Mixing Assistant
  • Steve Wyreman – Bass, Composer, Guitar, Wurlitzer
  • Danny Zook – Sample Clearance


  1. ^ a b David Amidon (2012-01-03). "Common: The Dreamer / The Believer". PopMatters. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  2. ^ "No I.D. To Produce The Entirety Of Common's "The Dreamer, The Believer"".
  3. ^ "Ghetto Dreams (feat. Nas) - Single by Common". iTunes Store (United States). 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  4. ^ a b "Common Says He & No I.D. Are Crafting 'Positive Hip-Hop' - The Boombox". Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  5. ^ "iTunes Store". Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  6. ^ G, Chris. "Common Denies Dissing Drake". Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Common Calls Drake 'Canada Dry' On 'Stay Schemin Remix". Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Common – Stay Schemin Remix Lyrics (Drake Diss) :". Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  9. ^ Gill, Andy. "Album: Common, The Dreamer_The Believer (Warner Bros) - Reviews - Music - The Independent". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-06-24.
  10. ^ Kellman, Andy. "The Dreamer/The Believer - Common". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  11. ^ Greg Kot (2011-12-16). "Common album review; The Dreamer/The Believer reviewed". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  12. ^ Kyle Anderson (2012-01-06). "Albums: Jan. 6, 2012 (Common: The Dreamer/The Believer)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  13. ^ Ross Bonaime (2011-12-20). "Common: The Dreamer/The Believer". Paste. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  14. ^ Jayson Greene (2012-01-10). "Common: The Dreamer/The Believer". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  15. ^ Jody Rosen (2011-12-20). "The Dreamer/The Believer | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  16. ^ Matthew Cole (2011-12-20). "Common: The Dreamer/The Believer | Music Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  17. ^ Steve Jones (2011-12-20). "Listen Up: Common, Young Jeezy". USA Today. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  18. ^ Carl Cherry (2011-12-20). "Common, The Dreamer/The Believer". XXL. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  19. ^ "Common - The Dreamer, The Believer".
  20. ^ "The Dreamer/The Believer Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic:". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
  21. ^ Andy Gill (2011-12-16). "Album: Common, The Dreamer/The Believer (Warner Bros) - Reviews - Music". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  22. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Common". Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  23. ^ Nathan S. "Common - The Dreamer / The Believer - Stream & Read Album Review". DJ Booth. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  24. ^ Blanco, Alvin Aqua (19 December 2011). "Common - The Dreamer, The Believer". HipHopDX.
  25. ^ Juon, Steve "Flash" (31 January 2012). " Feature for January 31, 2012 - Common's 'The Dreamer/The Believer'". RapReviews. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  26. ^ Robbins, Winston (27 December 2011). "Album Review: Common - The Dreamer, The Believer". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  27. ^ Moore, Marcus J. (21 December 2011). "Music - Review of Common - The Dreamer/The Believer". BBC Music. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  28. ^ Hardy, Ernest (19 December 2011). "Album review: Common's 'The Dreamer, The Believer'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  29. ^ Boles, Benjamin (December 15–22, 2011). "Common: The Dreamer/The Believer". Now. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  30. ^ Nguyen, Tuyet (20 December 2011). "Common: The Dreamer/The Believer". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  31. ^ Deviant (20 December 2011). "Review: Common - The Dreamer/The Believer". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  32. ^ Caulfield, Keith (December 28, 2011). "Michael Buble Remains No. 1, Adele's '21' Has Best Sales Week Yet". Billboard. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  33. ^ "Upcoming Releases".
  34. ^ The Dreamer/The Believer (2011): Credits. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-12-15.

External links[edit]