After striking out with his last album, Universal Mind Control (2008) and spending the majority of his time focusing on acting, Common had to go hard on his next album to win back those who cast him aside as someone only interested in being known in Hollywood. Then there was gossip of celebrity dating and other things that a career in Hollywood brings. After starring in American Gangster, Common is now on AMC’s Hell on Wheels, the product of mixed reviews.
The Dreamer/The Believer is a sense of refreshment. It is apparent that Common has learned from his mistakes of his last album and has returned to his roots. He worked with his long-time comrade No I.D., whom hasn’t released anything in 4 years. He even has Maya Angelou reading poetry on this album. Clearly, he wanted to go all out. His poetic verses and ways with words that illustrates his “what ifs” of his character, do a great job at setting a scene. He does however have a few talking points that miss the target by a few hundred feet, but after his last album, a few hiccups here and there aren’t the end of the world.
No I.D. does a great job at sampling some amazing beats and hooks from ELO and Kenny Loggins. There’s tons of pop-dance flavor on the album (Blue Sky) as well as corner bodega flow (Ghetto Dreams). Recommended to anyone who appreciates good hip hop, thats classic and still seemingly changing with the times.