Live Last Night: Common

After Common's latest LP, "Universal Mind Control," was widely dismissed as an overly commercial, hyperactive mess, everyone wondered if the rapper had yet again lost his senses. The album, which dropped in December, could be Common's most puzzlingly bad effort to date -- at least his 2002 experimental flop "Electric Circus" was an attempt to break new hip-hop ground.

But whenever folks declare Common to be in the midst of a creative recession, boom times follow. Not a fan of "Universal Mind Control?" Fear not: During Common's Wednesday show at the 9:30 club, he announced that he's already recording his next album.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

Fans who looked queasy when Common performed tracks from the Neptunes-produced "Universal Mind Control" -- including the smarmy come-on "Punch Drunk Love" and bizarre warrior anthem "Gladiator" -- seemed especially heartened by the news.

The Chicago MC is working on the project with Kanye West, who put in most of the production on "Finding Forever" and "Be," and No I.D, the man behind the boards for the majority of "Can I Borrow a Dollar?" 'Resurrection" and "One Day It'll All Make Sense."

Until the new disc emerges, however, everyone will just have to suffer through the material on Common's latest. But there is good news on that front, as well -- "Universal Mind Control" is almost tolerable live.

All the things wrong with the album -- it's too party-oriented, it's soulless, it's hip-hop on Viagra -- work well in a setting where people want to dance. New tracks, such as the drippy "Sex 4 Suga" and the bloated "Announcement," with its forced playboy antics, didn't measure up to "I Used to Love H.E.R." or "The Corner," of course; but they still got the people to move.


By J. Freedom du Lac |  March 12, 2009; 12:10 PM ET Live Last Night
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