The Dreamer/The Believer, Common, 2012
The Dreamer The Believer covers a lot of ground. Common manages to touch on spirituality, hip hop battling and the signature consciousness Common really explored since his second album, One Day It Will All Make Sense back in 1997. There is no questioning Common's impact on hip hop and The Dreamer The Believer is one of his best overall albums from top to bottom. The depth of the soul and the energy of the beats is amazingly credited to one producer, No I.D. I have always thought that the production is as important as the lyrical and rhythmic skill of the mc. There are too many albums where one overshadows the other, but this isn't one of them. No I.D. can easily best credited as one of the best producers around.
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In 2012, it's important to point out the soulful albums from well established artists like Common because it shows that you don't have to sell your soul to make money. Common's visibility has only increased, but his music obviously hasn't suffered. Trends fade and time shows who has the biggest impact on the music. For these reasons, I won't go into the beef between him & Drake. To establish this album as an instant classic it might help to mention that No I.D. (again), Maya Angelou, Nas and John Legend are in the credits. I swear I hear some cuts from DJ Premier, but I haven't seen him in the credits, but I digress. The final product is a balanced hip hop album to set the bar for 2012. I hope more artists can step up to the plate and keep up the momentum.