Kanye West is notorious for unabashedly hyping himself as well as his own artists, so naturally the Chicago rapper/producer has projected Common’s upcoming album Be as a classic. Meanwhile, Common has responded to critics who claim West restored his career.
“I’m telling you right now it’s five mics [The Source album review rating], five stars [AllHipHop.com’s rating system] across the board,” West told AllHipHop.com. “Common’s album will go down in history.”
XXL magazine has validated West’s opinion and given the opus its highest rating of “XXL.”
“On Be, Common plays poet and documentarian, showing us the triumphs and tragedies that occur in Ghetto, USA. Common’s wordsmith wizardry soars beyond stylistics: “It excels at photographing real life,” the magazine praised.
West said he produced the bulk of Be, and Detroit producer Jay-Dee worked on the remainder of the album.
“He’s not going back, he’s going forward,” said West in reference to Common’s relapse to his more aggressive side on Be. “There are songs on there that only me and Common could have done together.”
While West boasted of the album’s superiority, Common envisioned Be as a testament to his evolution as an MC and a slight return to his usual self.
“I don’t think I could ever go back to who I was in ’94 and ’96,” Common told AllHipHop.com. “But as you evolve you sometimes go back home, and people say that I’m going back home cause I’m doing raw hip-hop and that’s where I began.”
Though some critics have credited West for resuscitating Common’s career, which has always been somewhat under the radar and non-mainstream, West defended his frequent song cameos as something that is a staple of Hip-Hop.
“I heard a comment [from a critic] like ‘Is Kanye on every hook?’ and I told Common and he said, ‘I don’t give a f**k – I like it,'” said West. “And that’s what Hip-Hop is about. We don’t give a f**k and we put out the songs we like.”
Concurring with West, Common said he acknowledged the mega-producer’s artistic contribution and ability to draw a larger audience than Common has typically attracted.
Still, Common gave himself much of the acclaim, at the same time expressing appreciation for West’s role in his musical resurgence.
“Only I truly can bring back me, however he is helping me to create music that the masses and people can enjoy and love,” said Common. “I have to give credit where it is due. Kanye has been a big plus to my album and this new part of my career and that is why we are riding together.”
Common also proclaimed that the process of recording with West has been reciprocal. “He has been there passionately creating, and with him I have helped him grow as a producer and it is give and take,” said Common. “He has helped me create music that everybody can deal with and I wanted and needed that.”
As Common prepares to release his sixth album Be, he said he’s pleased that he can be himself, and he expects that people will relate to this authenticity.
“I feel like I don’t have anything to cover me up so people are feeling that,” said Common. “As a person you go through your evolution. But as an artist you go through that in front of everybody. I’m trying on my bad clothes in front of everybody.”