Something about the rhythm of Common's flow -- the way he phrases his intelligent rhymes -- turns his voice into an instrument. He started out as Common Sense, releasing two excellent albums filled with sparse beats and dizzying rhymes that were unusual exports from the pop-focused hip-hop scene in the Midwest. Though he's been pigeonholed as a mellow Jazz Rap minimalist, he's got enough consciousness-stirring lyrics to make a listener sit up and think as they nod to his thick grooves. The album that broke him was One Day It'll All Make Sense, a record with rich, organic beats that balanced his unorthodox vocal style. Touring with a live band (often the Roots) seasoned him for his next effort, Like Water For Chocolate. Stretching hip-hop's boundaries, Common has drawn on everything from thick, Fela Kuti-inspired afro-beat to jazzy live backing, with tracks produced by DJ Premier and the Soulquarians (including drummer/mastermind ?uestlove and singer/keyboardist D'Angelo). In 2002, his sound grew considerably more experimental, and the Jay Dee-produced Electric Circus somewhat alienated fans of his earlier material. After taking a few years to regroup, Common re... See More
Common Concert Films
Live at the Gramercy Theater 2014
Runtime: 60 minLonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., better known by his stage name Common, is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, poet and film producer. He maintained a significant underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained notable mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians. This intimate live performance gives the fans the chance to see him perform live at Gramercy Theater.
Live at the Lovebox 2014
Runtime: 56 minNas comes to London’s Lovebox Festival with his iconic “Illmatic” album (meaning “beyond ill” or “the ultimate”). This album uses samples galore in the best example of hip hoppers honoring banging beats.
Guitar Center Sessions
Runtime: 57 minAn intimate concert and interview with hip-hop lyricist, Talib Kweli. Performances include 'Upper Echelon', 'Get By', 'The Blast', and 'Cold Rain' with host, Nic Harcourt.
Me Myself and I
De La Soul
Runtime: 55 minWith their clever, surrealistic lyrics, inventive use of sampling and incorporating an eclectic mix of reggae, funk, jazz, fashion and psychedelia into their sound, New York-based DE LA SOUL are one of the most original and influential groups on the hip hop scene. Singing about peace and love rather than about sleaze and violence like most of their considerably more hardcore rap contemporaries, De La Soul come across as modern day hippies, an image which found favor with rock audiences. Hailed on their arrival on the scene in 1989 as the future of hip hop, De La Soul were quickly perceived as the leaders of a contingent of New York-based alternative rappers who dubbed themselves The Native Tongues Posse. This movement for a while looked as if it was going to eclipse hardcore hip hop in terms of popularity. This concert, filmed at the 1997 Lokerse Festival, features their hits 'Me, Myself And I' (with its sample of Funkadelic's '(Not Just) Knee Deep'), 'Ring, Ring, Ring' and 'Breakadawn'.
Classic Album: Reasonable Doubt
Runtime: 54 minJay-Z has been one of the most influential figures in Black American music since the mid-nineties. Initially as a performer racking up an incredibly successful string of hit singles and albums and latterly as an executive, having taken on the presidency of Def Jam Records in 2004. "Reasonable Doubt" was his debut album and is still considered by many to be his finest achievement. A much harder hitting and edgy record than his later more polished and pop orientated releases it announced to the world that a new rap star had arrived. This latest addition to the Classic Albums series sees Jay-Z take us back through the whole creative process behind this stunning first release.