Track Review: Common, 'Sweet'

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Common is anything but in this get-up! His plaid suit and polka-dotted collar stand out in the sea of stiff suits at this year's Grammys.

"Sweet" (3:38)
Producer: No I.D.
Writer: L. Lynn, E. Wilson, D. Burton, H. Kelley
Publisher: Think Common Music, Inc. (BMI)/Chrysalis Music/Let The Story Begin Publishing (ASCAP)/Iza Music Corp. (BMI) admin. by The Clyde Otis Music Group.
Think Common Music Inc./Warner Bros.

Over his nearly two-decade-long career, Common has ventured into classic East Coast rap, neo-soul, and pop. On "Sweet," the latest single from "The Dreamer, The Believer," however, the Chicago rapper breaks character, eschewing the cloud-gazing wisdom that has become his wont in favor of glowering boasts and references to Air Jordans. "I rhyme for the commoners/My name synonymous with prominence/I'm to hip-hop what Obama is to politics," he raps gleefully. When he's not rhyming, Common carelessly drops insults as if he's on a mixtape interlude. The dramatic character-shift and the steely No I.D. beat touch upon a street-level populist appeal. The shift is not entirely convincing given Common's reputation as the conscientious rapper, but of all the rap archetypes he could have embodied, "street corner philosopher" is probably the most fun.

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