Universal Mind Control

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Universal Mind Control
Universal Mind Control.png
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 9, 2008
GenreHip hop
Common chronology
Finding Forever
Universal Mind Control
The Dreamer/The Believer

Universal Mind Control is Common's eighth studio album. Originally scheduled to be released on June 24, 2008 under the name Invincible Summer, the release date was pushed back to September 30, 2008 due to Common filming Wanted.[1] However, on September 10, 2008, it was announced that the title would be changed to Universal Mind Control and the release date was set for November 11, 2008. Later, the release was pushed back to December 9, 2008.[2]

The album's first single, titled "Universal Mind Control", was officially released on July 1, 2008 via the US iTunes Store as part of the Announcement EP (sold as "Universal Mind Control-EP" in the UK). The song features Pharrell. The Announcement EP included an additional track titled "Announcement". The video for "Universal Mind Control" was filmed in September by director Hype Williams.[2] The album was sold for 79 points (roughly $.99) on Zune Marketplace to help promote the album.

In 2010, the album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album but lost to the Eminem album Relapse.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Allmusic2.5/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau(2-star Honorable Mention)(2-star Honorable Mention)[5]
Entertainment WeeklyC[6]
The Guardian4/5 stars[7]
Los Angeles Times2.5/4 stars[8]
Pitchfork Media2.8/10[9]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[12]
Vibe2/5 stars[3][14]
Yahoo! Music UK6/10 stars[15]

Billboard magazine has described the sound as "electro-tinged" and "techno-inspired."[1] The album has largely divided critics and fans, with Pitchfork awarding just 2.8 out of 10, yet The Guardian gave it 4 stars of out 5; USA Today gave it three-and-a-half out of four stars;[16] Spin gave it seven out of ten;[17] and XXL gave it three out of five stars.[18] Metacritic, the score aggregator, calculated a score of 53 out of 100, indicating mixed to average reviews.[3]

While some reviews were positive, others were mixed or negative. Uncut gave it a score of four out of five stars and said, "Tough and determinedly sexed-up, here you'll find talk of beefs, booty and bitches, rather than brotherhood. Producers Neptunes and OutKast's Mr DJ oversee this exercise in alluringly modern hip hop."[3] The A.V. Club gave it a C+ and said, "Common stops trying to save the world and uplift the human spirit, and gets in touch with his inner freak, with results that are often more bewildering than sexy."[19] Paste gave it a score of 5.3 out of 10 and said, "Common's inability to sound sincere about a man he spent two years championing is the most telling part of this consciously shallow caricature of hip-hop's dregs."[20] Slant Magazine gave it a score of two stars out of five and said that although the album "represents a serious step backward from the successes of his recent projects with Kanye, it would be remiss to say the album is the death knell for Common's career or that he has fallen off in any significant way."[21] Canadian magazine Now also gave it a score of two out of five and said it had "no shortage of sick beats, but Common’s decision to dumb down his rhymes to a rude and rudimentary level comes off horribly crass at best and at worst downright embarrassing."[22]

Commercial performance[edit]

In its first week, Universal Mind Control sold 81,663 in the United States. As of December 31, 2008, the album has sold 211,781. [23]

Track listing[edit]

1."Intro/Universal Mind Control" (featuring Pharrell)Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., Pharrell Williams, Chad HugoThe Neptunes3:34
2."Punch Drunk Love (The Eye)" (featuring Kanye West)Lynn, Williams, Hugo, Kanye WestThe Neptunes4:15
3."Make My Day" (featuring Cee-Lo Green)Lynn, Thomas Callaway, Dukes Of Daville, J. Bowden, J. Boyd, David SheatsMr. DJ3:59
4."Sex 4 Suga"Lynn, Williams, HugoThe Neptunes4:03
5."Announcement" (featuring Pharrell)Lynn, Williams, HugoThe Neptunes3:46
6."Gladiator" (featuring Pharrell)Lynn, Williams, HugoThe Neptunes4:07
7."Changes" (featuring Muhsinah and Omoye Assata Lynn)Lynn, Sheats, BowdenMr. DJ3:58
8."Inhale"Lynn, Williams, Hugo, Raymond HarrisThe Neptunes3:12
9."What a World" (featuring Chester French)Lynn, David Andrew, Maxwell Drummey, Williams, HugoThe Neptunes3:58
10."Everywhere" (featuring Martina Topley-Bird)Lynn, Sheats, Martina TopleyMr. DJ3:15
iTunes bonus track
11."Break My Heart" (Live)Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., Kanye WestKanye West3:26
UK bonus track
11."Punch Drunk Love" (Booty Shake Remix) (featuring Pharrell)Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., Pharrell Williams, Chad HugoThe Neptunes4:33

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200 12
U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 4
U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums 1
Canadian Albums Chart 79

Release history[edit]

Country Date
United States December 9, 2008
United Kingdom March 6, 2009
Mexico December 24, 2008
Spain April 7, 2009
Brazil May 12, 2009
China December 10, 2008
Japan January 6, 2009
New Zealand November 17, 2008


  1. ^ a b Common Readies "Universal Mind Control" For July Release | Hip Hop News > HipHopDX.com
  2. ^ a b "Common Changes Album Title, Shoots Video With Hype Williams". DJBooth.net. 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2008-09-17.
  3. ^ a b c d "Critic Reviews for Universal Mind Control". Metacritic. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  4. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Universal Mind Control - Common". Allmusic.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Common". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  6. ^ Compton, Josette (December 12, 2008). "Universal Mind Control Review". Entertainment Weekly.
  7. ^ Batey, Angus (December 4, 2008). "Common: Universal Mind Control". The Guardian. London.
  8. ^ Wappler, Margaret (December 8, 2008). "Album review: Common's 'Universal Mind Control'". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Howe, Brian (December 10, 2008). "Common: Universal Mind Control". Pitchfork Media.
  10. ^ Hauner, Thomas (December 16, 2008). "Common: Universal Mind Control". PopMatters.
  11. ^ Padania, Jesal "Jay Soul" (December 9, 2008). "RapReviews.com Feature for December 9, 2008 - Common's 'Universal Mind Control'". RapReviews. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  12. ^ Hermes, Will (December 11, 2008). "Universal Mind Control". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  13. ^ Munro, Tyler (December 12, 2008). "Review: Common - Universal Mind Control". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  14. ^ O'Neal, Eavvon (December 9, 2008). "Common: Universal Mind Control". Vibe. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  15. ^ Draper, Jason (December 8, 2008). "Common - Universal Mind Control". Yahoo! Music UK. Archived from the original on January 13, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  16. ^ Jones, Steve (December 9, 2008). "Common's 'Universal Mind Control' is anything but". USA Today.
  17. ^ Gonzales, Michael (December 4, 2008). "Common, 'Universal Mind Control' (G.O.O.D. Music / Geffen)". Spin.
  18. ^ Kennedy, John (January 22, 2009). "Common: Universal Mind Control". XXL. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  19. ^ Rabin, Nathan (December 17, 2008). "Common: Universal Mind Control". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  20. ^ Saba, Michael (December 8, 2008). "Common: Universal Mind Control :: Music :: Reviews". Paste. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  21. ^ McBee, Wilson (December 8, 2008). "Common: Universal Mind Control". Slant Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  22. ^ Perlich, Tim (December 10–17, 2008). "Common: Universal Mind Control". Now. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  23. ^ Paine, Jake (2009-01-07). "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 1/4/09 | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2012-03-13.

External links[edit]