Common - Universal Mind Control (3 stars)

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Common - Universal Mind Control

(Geffen)

HIP HOP SOUL

Common has been around long enough to reinvent himself a couple of times already but his social conscious that extended beyond the dime bags and low riders always set him apart from the gangsta shit. For this, his eighth album he enlists The Neptunes and his regular cohort Kanye West to stock up on new beats for him.

The production is thick and, well, Pharell-ish for the most part: clean, fizzy, itchy and deeply, deeply funky. Lyrically, however, Common often relies more on big hooks than his familiar storytelling. A disappointing turn for someone quite so normally lyrically astute – maybe that film career is eating into his time for writing rhymes? Gripes aside, there’s still much to recommend this album this dose of 21st century soul.

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