Volume 96, Issue 62
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

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CD REVIEWS: Nas, Common
Common and Nas fight for the hip-hop crown

Nas
Godz Son
Sony



Rundown: Still in the game coming strong as ever, Nas drops his seventh LP in nearly a decade. One of the most influential and political rappers still kickin', Nas blesses hip-hop listeners with another near-classic, full of knowledge. Having gone through many transitions such as Nasty Nas, Escobar and Nastradamus, Nas has now transformed into Godz Son. This is an LP filled with humble production and precise rhymes to flow with it.

Key Tracks: Every one of the tracks on this album are extremely tight. "Last Real Nigga Alive" is a story about coming up in the game and getting over many of the obstacles a rap star has to deal with. Another standout track that helps to imbue rap with a positive image is a cut entitled "I Can," which lets the ghetto children of the world know they can do anything they want if they put their minds to it.

Sounds Like: Godz Son is reminiscent of Nas's second classic LP of his career, The Lost Tapes. The production and rhyme content are both quite familiar, but this is by no means a bad thing. The Lost Tapes is definitely a Nas classic, and this new one is right up there with it.

–Darren Glowacki



Common
Electric Circus
MCA



RUNDOWN: With each passing album, Common has consistently been able to take his music to another level. For the most part, as far as originality is concerned, this record annihilates his previous installment, Like Water for Chocolate, and may prove a very difficult listen for longtime fans and newcomers alike.

KEY TRACKS: Although themes of Common's love for girlfriend Erykah Badu saturate a portion of the 13 songs, he still manages to display his smoothly aggressive style on tracks like "Soul Power" and the Neptunes-produced "I Got A Right Ta." It's in songs like these that the album's strength is found. The drawn-out love song "Come Close" featuring Mary J. Blige is the first commercial single off of the record.

SOUNDS LIKE: Electric Circus is a completely unique album defined mainly by ?uestlove's (The Roots) ability to combine handclap snares, heavy bass lines and a neo-soul atmosphere with hard-driving distorted guitar licks. Not only is the production stellar, but Common shows his emcee skills on 99 per cent of the album, almost effortlessly making each track a pleasure the first time through. Aside from the glitch with Mary J., which can be easily skipped, Common has created yet another masterpiece.

–Kaelan Moat

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