Banter on Tulips and a Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z and John Coltrane, Outkast and Othello.



"God makes you valuable. Whether you recognize the value or not is one thing." - Mos Def, "Black on Both Sides"

So, I admit I was one amongst the crowd yesterday. It was 10 p.m. and after a great dinner chat with a friend at a nearby spot, this chica was resigned to being a groupie...of album release dates, that is. Try as I might to wait a couple of days until I bought Common's "Be" (I had previously been listening to the preview on okayplayer), I found myself at the Virgin Records store in Union Square. Standing in line (and M.Elle would rather march on Washington behind Al carrying his bucket of Popeyes than stand in somebody's line *smile*). Deciding whether to purchase the regular version or the two dollar DVD enhanced version. (I decided on the former. Big head Kanye was already getting enough of my money for his "jewry" endeavors. LOL)

Admittedly, I had heard enough snippets to convince me that it was indeed a gem (we talked about that yesterday). Though, I'm not necessarily a member of the Church of "Instant Vintage" Latter Day Rappers. (i.e. I agree with Panama, let's let this stew a bit, before we put it on the shelf next to Tribe's Midnight Marauders or Mos and Kweli's Blackstar or dare I say 'Trane, Miles and Ella.) That said, it IS the BEST thing I have heard in a long, long time. And, though I won't write a review on said blog (I'd much rather use this free space to emote LOL), I will share the particular effect the end of the complete version of "It's Your World" had on me.

As pops Lonnie gave yet another spectacular delivery of spoken word/truth/
admonition/encouragement to the masses who might put said sounds to their ears, I found myself doing something I hadn't done since I first listened to the piano-driven soul wrenching title track of Lauryn's Miseducation. I cried. Lest you think I'm a sappy girl *turning my nose up at you if you do*, it wasn't out of sadness, really. It was really out of a profound and deep respect for the power of music. Of words. Of youth starved for honesty. I thought about how the song probably started as a concept in someone's head. (Maybe it began with the beat in Kanye's...Common laid the verse and his father topped it all off along with a bevy of young kids talking about what they wanted to "be".) And before they knew it, they had crafted a piece of art/journalism/ghetto hymn that gets some kid through his high school exams and spurs him onward, that encourages a single mother waiting to transfer trains in between jobs, that tells a writer that she's doing something worth doing. I started to get emotional as the kids in the song rounded off what their plans were "I want to be an artist... I want to be an astronaut...I want to be the first African American female president." Such a simple thing, youth giving voice to their aspirations. But speaking delivers such power. And then, Lonnie delivered the real goods...

"Be here, be there. Be that, be this. Be grateful for life. Be grateful to life...Be you...Be aware. Be boundless energy...Be food for thought to the growing mind. Be the author of your own horoscope.. Be amended, five fifths human...Be a brilliant soul sparkling in the galaxy, while walking on earth...be eternal."

As I've written before, res ipsa loquitur. Or as the age-ripened deacons say in street corner churches -- Amen and amen.


At May 25, 2005 1:00 PM , Blogger Will said...

*on my way to pick up CD*

At May 26, 2005 2:54 PM , Blogger Maverick said...

I have to agree with you...that was the best of "Pop's Raps" from any of his albums. Really, those are usually my favorite parts of the album (I especially like to laugh when he mispronounces "cartographer" and then just changes and says "map maker"...classic).

But on the real, I think this is Common's best album. It is, by far, the most focused. I am just glad to see an artist actually conveying ideas and concepts rather than just words that are not tied by any coherence. And it is okay that you cried...no one will hold it against you...


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