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
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.
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
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.
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."
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
"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