Common teams up with Daniel Caesar, Leon Bridges, and more for calm but passionate new album, “Let Love”
Common may well be amongst the most underappreciated figures of 90’s and 2000’s Hip Hop. This is the artist that made Jay Z proclaim, “Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense, But I did a 5 mill’ – I ain’t been rhyming like Common since,” in his track “Moment of Clarity”. Included on The Black Album, the track is full of shout outs to Jay’s favorite contemporaries.
Common’s past has resulted in awarded ventures in rap, R&B, and even film scores. The Grammy, BET and Academy award winner has notched notable collaborations with any and everyone, from the Blackstar’s classic “Respiration” to hits like “Southside”, “Make Her Say” and “Glory” with Kanye West, Kid Cudi and John Legend respectively.
All of this is to say, Common brings over 20 years of chart topping and award-winning power to his new album, even if he doesn’t come to mind when you’re asked for your top five or 10 of all time.
Let Love is an eleven-track melding of Common’s R&B and rap careers, with almost every song touching on soulful themes and melodies while also including verses from Common.
Common’s verses on Good Morning Love, the first track of the album, are good, but the song is made by the chorus provided by Samora Pinderhughes. Her soft and emotional singing forms the perfect foundation for Common.
When Pinderhughes sings, “When we wash all our pain away, we say, “Oh, my Lord”’, you can feel that pain.When she sings, “Will my people ever be safe?In the land that takes us and breaks us, I can't be sure,” you feel that danger.
Common’s verses themselves are a meditation on life and faith, establishing the themes of the album in its first five minutes. He dives into deep runs of self-reflection in his first verse,
“Acts, scenes that don't seem serene
I light palo santo, put on Love Supreme
And get into the being of the great I am
That's when I get to seeing just how great I am
Many many times from mistakes, I ran.”
He then follows it up with by turning the attention to the world around him, promoting his own self-reflection as a movement, “The old folks say we don't do that, But taking care of self is the new black.”
“HER Love” is the third piece in a three-track run from Common that spans three albums. The first two songs are “I Used to Love H.E.R.”, the second “The Next Chapter (Still Love H.E.R.)”. The trinity are a series of dedications to Hip Hop itself.
The track is a love letter to how Hip Hop has saved Common both emotionally and physically, with the award winner declaring,
“In many ways you like my religion
When no one else did, to me you listen
Gangstas, gods, you hugged and kiss 'em
No matter, you stayed in my system”
The track transitions in the last verse to a series of dedications to various modern hip hop artists, not so dissimilar to the Jay Z verse from “Moment of Clarity”. In a song dedicated to hip hop, Common makes an effort to show support for the new wave.
“You told me I'm the mane like Gucci
With a chance to rap and make movies
You gave mills to the meek, to inherit the Earth
Before me too, you said, "Ladies first"
Things get rocky, you there ASAP
Rocky or Ferg, you there to swerve
I want you to get the love you deserve
My will made it on a mic' with words
With no name, I was a hard MC
Love and hip-hop, on some Cardi B
Now you a part of me, creatin' Tyler style
A future ain't odd to see
Free spirit, with young will like Jaden
When I see you, you never agin.”
The song also benefits from a sweet but simple chorus from Daniel Caesar, who anchors the song’s emotional journey in a similar way to Samora Pinderhughes in the previous track.
“Let Love” is another classic from Common. While its best three tracks are in the first four, the entire eleven are worth your time. The veteran MC combines styles, putting out peaceful tracks like “Good Morning Love” and harder, less soulful tracks like “Hercules” and “Fifth Story”. If you’ve got 45 minutes, it’s a must listen.