Thursday, July 5, 2007

Famous Firsts: Common (Sense)

Before he was Hova, Jay used to "iggiddy-bigiddy-digiddy" with the best of them. Remember when 2Pac used to "clown around with the Underground."? Yes, before an MC becomes great they have to take baby steps. And this right here is one of them.

Before Ms. Badu whipped that voodoo pussy on him and had him wearing burlap sacks, Lonnie Rashid Lynn was a hungry young MC from the Chi. The time was 1992 and everything from Chicago was poppin'. The Bulls were winning championships and even their former ballboy(Common Sense back then) dropped an album. Can I Borrow A Dollar? was the Illinois natives debut disc released on Relativity Records which was was beginning to have a nice stable with Fat Joe Da Gangsta (ne Fat Joe), Chi-Ali and the Beatnuts. To say it was youthfully exuberrant would be an understatement. Looking back, it was somewhat juvenile but then again so was I and it was the guys 1st album.

You can definitely see potential in the lyrics as well as the MC that would come to be known as Common. One standout track is Take It EZ, The first single which showcased a rapid fire delivery, a million pop-culture refernces and a hype-man/sidekick the latter which he has thankfully abandoned as his career progressed. The other notables are Breaker 1/9 and Soul By The Pound which seems to be the most acclaimed track on the album.

What strikes me most about the album now is the leaps and bounds he has made as an MC and in his subject matter. Songs like Heidi Hoe, Penny For Your Thoughts and a few others show his ingenuity and inventiveness with his rhyme scheme but also show a misogynistic and alcohol swigging Common that would get eaten for lunch by the vegetarian MC that stands before you today. You can chalk it up to maturity and "growth as an artist" but I'm glad for the change.

By no means is Can I Borrow A Dollar? a masterpiece(He actually stated in an interview that it's his least favorite). It is however a good listen and a nice glimpse at a dude who would literally step his his game up and get on some "next level shit"(like a lot of cats say but never do)

Compare this to his later works and be AMAZED!