"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An Open Letter To Common Sense Circa 1994/Common – Universal Mind Control: Review


"Fail @ Music"

Dear Mr. Sense:


First of all, I would like to congratulate you on releasing your new album, “Resurrection.” I don’t want to spoil anything for you because I’m writing from the future in the year 2024 but we will still talking about that album thirty years from now. In fact, that album is so good, you will be eating off the reputation that album garnered for you for the rest of your life and plenty of people will excuse a lot of questionable material you will be releasing in the near future because of how great songs like “Communism” are. I mean people will be frontin’ on “I Used To Love H.E.R.” like that song wasn’t the fucking shit in 1994 but those people like Shawty Lo records so fuck ‘em. I’m sorry you don’t know who Shawty Lo is yet, do you? He was part of this ass awful group called D4L in the mid ‘00s and beefed with T.I. for a little while over whether or not they actually grew up in this backwater town called Bankhead like anybody gives a flying fornication. I know, it will be as retarded as it sounds. Oh, yeah, that’s right you haven’t met T.I., either. You’ll be playing his father in a film called “American Gangster” in about 12 years so don’t sweat it. I know, it’ll be creepy. Actually, just forget it. All in due time.


Anyway, the reason that I’m writing you today is because I’m compelled to warn you as a fan of yours about the upcoming disaster that will be your future album called “Universal Mind Control” in the year 2008. It’s imperative that you do not make this album. The entire fabric of existence depends on it. “Universal Mind Control” isn’t just bad. It’s legendarily bad. It’s “This is album is so bad it negates the existence of God bad. Like I mean there can’t possibly be a supreme being if he allowed a travesty like this to occur” bad. There’s absolutely nothing salvageable about this album. You need to stop this before it occurs. I’m begging you. Wars started in foreign countries over this album when it was released. You ever see the movie, Scanners? At least, sixty people had their heads spontaneously explode attempting to listen to this album. Please, I beg of you. Do not attempt.


Listen, in the future you will meet a man by the name of Pharrell. He’s this goofy ass skinny dude who wears all types of hideously gaudy clothes, he sings in this hyper annoying falsetto and he’ll have this Asian guy (which nobody can seem to figure out actually does for a living...) follow him around all the time . He’ll try to seduce you by jetting you around the globe in his private plane, have you cavorting with models, and introduce you to a short, motor mouthed actor with an immaculate hairpiece that will soon become you’re best friend. You need to kill him upon meeting him. Despite the fact the man has only about a dozen, truly great songs to his name, he will have garnered a ridiculous amount of unwarranted acclaim and will offer to produce your latest album for you. You must resist. The beats on “Universal Mind Control” are truly hideous and are bad even by his standards. It sounds like this weird amalgamation of Baltimore Club Music, Danger Mouse, and Just Blaze’s worst, most ostentatious impulses in a way that completely fails and causes one to question the creator’s influences. The first time I heard the title track, I was convinced I was listening to an ill-conceived Girl Talk (as if there was anything else) mash-up of some bad Bmore Club and a drunken freestyle that No I.D. dared you to record while drinking orange pineapple juice laced with vodka. And that’s only the opening record! It only gets worse from there. I’m talking records that inexplicably bite Biggie’s flow in a sub-Guerilla Black manner; records that reference Gladiator (and are actually called “Gladiator”) as if “What More Can I Say” didn’t happen; and there’s actually a record called “Sex 4 Sugar. Completely without irony.


And as a bad as Pharrell is on the album, the problem is primarily you. In approximately the year 2005, after doing one too many advertisements for the Gap, the soft feel of their 100% cotton sweaters will cause you to completely lose your ability to rap but instead of doing the sensible thing and completely retire from rap as if you were Mos Def, you will continue to force yourself on the listening public. You will embarrass yourself on this record. Badly. There are songs on this record where there will be no semblance of flow and rhythm on your part. This wouldn’t necessarily be bad if you weren’t rapping about some generic, cookie cutter version of universal love or some hippie bullshit but you are. This album is the audio equivalent of talking to some douchebag named Moonbeam for an hour while he trips on acid and forces you to go to a rave. It ain’t pretty.


“Universal Mind Control” must not happen, Common. You have the power to stop it. You must resist all impulses in the future to do anything that doesn’t sound like “Thisisme,” It will hurt because you will feel that you are better than hip hop but you are not. You are definitely not. Trust me. Lives were lost because of this. This album was directly responsible for the Supreme Court from negating the results from 2008 Presidential Election and ushering in a third Bush term which lead to the death of democracy in America. Lives depend it on, Lonnie. You can change it. Don’t make this album.


Sincerely,


The Good Doctor Zeus


P.S. You should also probably drop the “Sense” part of your name. You’ll thank me later.


P.P.S. In the future, you will meet a woman by the name of Erkyah. This will be in your future.



Be warned.


53 comments:

Dan Love said...

Shit Doc, that was quick.

My download impulse may even be slower than I thought...

Way to hate!

DocZeus said...

I feel everybody needs to hear this album to truly appreciate how bad it is. We have a winner for the worst album of the year contest.

Badmon3333 said...

Maybe I just jock Dilla too much, but I still really like the vast of majority of 'Like Water for Chocolate.'

Badmon3333 said...

Whoops, the VAST MAJORITY OF... 'Heat,' 'Questions,' even the joint about his grandma gettin' jacked on the old -folks cruise was good.

Jordan said...

Hilarious. I might have to actually listen to this album now just to see how bad it is.

I guess the weird thing about I Used To Love Her is I've only heard it after it first came out, and in retrospect the idea that losing its purity destroyed hip-hop seems really silly. I mean, the guy's complaining about Ready To Die and Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and Super-Tight and Comin' Out Hard and The Chronic and Doggystyle and Kill My Landlord and The Diary and Illegal Business and 36 Chambers, and those are all things I love, so the complaint seems pretty silly. Like I can see that not everything around 93-94 coming from a place more gangster or west of Common was as good as those examples, but still, that glass is at most 1/4 empty. Even Regulate is pretty solid. Still, it's a well constructed song, and the line "you could tell by the way her titties hung" is fantastic. And Dey Know has a really good beat and no one has made a version of it more definitive than the original, despite the fact that Shawty Lo can't rap.

Zilla Rocca said...

"And Dey Know has a really good beat and no one has made a version of it more definitive than the original, despite the fact that Shawty Lo can't rap."

Download Nico the Beast's "Dey Know Freestyle"--massacre (I'm obviously biased, but still--he put that bitch to bed)

Badmon3333 said...

You hit the nail right on the head, Doc. This is handily the worst Common album ever. It also single-handedly killed any hope I had that the two white prep kids in Chester French (signed to Pharrell's label) will be any good.

"Everywhere" sounds like Common doing a Springsteen cover of "Dancing in the Dark."

Wow. Bad.

The question now becomes: which is the bigger turd, 'UMC' or '808s'? I think I'll give the nod to 'UMC'... for all his Me-Me-Me-'Ness, at least 'Ye was doing something he felt was coming from his heart. This just sounds like Common's misguided attempt to finally start moving mad units.

DocZeus said...

"Everywhere" and "Gladiator" are the two records I think slightly suck less than the rest of the album. "Sex 4 Sugar" should be made illegal to listen to.

tray said...

I really fuck with this post. I think Pharrell, though, has a little more than a dozen great songs to his name. I mean, we can agree he mostly sucks now, but he really did have his day. Although I think 'Excuse Me Miss' and 'Let's Get Blown' are pretty great records so I could be biased in favor of his sound. Oh, and Chad, Chad was sort of the melodic half of the duo, whereas P supplied the drums. That's why In My Mind is so weak compared to earlier Neptunes stuff, because it's just him, no Chad.

Jay (d)eff Kay said...

great post, doc. like i alluded to in tray's blog, I was really tempted to listen to this just to see how much of a trainwreck it'd be. And you've sold me on the carnage.

are there tons more along the lines of "broads say are you a philosopher? / yeah yeah i'll philosopha on top of ya"

coz then i wouldnt even have sweat to get a blog post that pays tribute to the UMC's cheesiest one liners

Jay said...

^Just listen to "Sex 4 Suga." You can probably do a few blog posts on the rhymes on that song alone.

Jordan said...

Also who's the short, motor mouthed actor with an immaculate hairpiece? My bad if the answer is so obvious that I look like the spawn of Trig Palin.

Jay (d)eff Kay said...

"Also who's the short, motor mouthed actor with an immaculate hairpiece? "

I'm assuming he's talking abt common's bff jeremy piven.

jordan, shame on you for not knowing. wait shame on me for knowing.

Trey Stone said...

i agree that this album sucks, though i haven't checked the three non-Neptunes tracks yet, but i'd agree with tray that The Neptunes definitely have more than twelve genuinely great tracks. they've got about eight dope tracks in this year alone. i wouldn't mind people being down on 'em as much if not for the fact that some of the shit that sometimes gets hyped as supposedly their best (Lord Willin', boring early-period pre-fame stuff for N.O.R.E. and ODB) really isn't compared to a bunch of their mid-to-late period stuff.

i do think Common could sound good over some of The Neptunes' best stuff, and i'd be more interested in an inspired collaboration with Pharrell over any attempt to rehash some of his old shit.

John Q said...

Wow!! I say this to the fact this letter did not reach Common (Sense) in time for a acceptable response.

Digressing, Man what the F**k is this album? Oh, This is a party album. OK, just say some sh.. that comes to mind and have no heart in what you say.

*Common Sense (Circa '94)Shakes his head at this album and looks for a RESURRECTION back to his way, hoping ONE DAY IT WILL ALL MAKE SENSE*

tray said...

Oh now come on, you can't be a Neptunes stan and disregard their work for Nore and ODB, that's your best leg to stand on. And I have no idea what these eight dope tracks from this year are - are there any that aren't on Seeing Sounds? Because I plan on never listening to that.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

yea, NORE + the neptunes= great music. i don't really see how NORE is boring on, say, "Grimey," but whatever.

he and the neptunes should have sold this album as a bunch of demos to diddy or will smith. at least i could them tolerate references to smokey the bear.

Trey Stone said...

i mean, i'll give you "Got Your Money," that's pretty dope. but i think the guys branched out stylistically and got better a lot more than they're given credit for, even if that's been clouded by some of Pharrell's shitty recent work.

and as for the eight, i was thinking N.E.R.D. + John Legend's "It's Over," though recently i read that was produced by someone else even though it's written by Pharrell. which doesn't really make sense to me, but anyway.

Badmon3333 said...

Best Neptunes beats:

• 'Mr. Me Too'
• 'What Happened to That Boy?'
• 'Keyz Open Doorz'
• 'Superthug'
• Maaaaybe 'Nothing,' but it's pretty simple.

tray said...

This is a good place to start on the Neptunes' best beats.

http://metallungies.com/2008/07/beat-drop-the-neptunes/

Trey Stone said...

i'd definitely put "Mr. Me Too" up with their best, maybe the bleakest beat Pharrell's done. the rest, i dunno...though "Keys Open Doors" is better than the others for sure.

i tend to think some of the 'Tunes's best stuff has been their least popular (N.E.R.D., Kenna, songs that aren't "Drop It Like It's Hot" on that one Snoop album, and even Pharrell's solo, i'm not crazy) for whatever reason. different from Timbaland, whose best work has also tended to be at least fairly successful. though i would say their post-"Give It 2 Me" work with Jay gets some unfair hate, sans "Change Clothes" and "Anything."

tray said...

Mr. Me Too sucks until the last 20 seconds, when that thing comes in and gives it a little ominous bite. You know what I'm talking about. Until then it's just this inert piece of shit. I mean, there's a lot of slept-on stuff, like their work for Famlay (understandably as it never saw commercial release), but for the most part I think the critical assessment's on the mark... In My Mind's a fun record and all, but way more because of P's daffy vocals and raps than because of his beats, which were hugely disappointing.

brandon said...

Great piece. Is it just me or is 'Resurrection' sort of over-shadowed and still not given its TOTAL CLASSIC status? I mean, like, people like it, but it doesn't always seem to be the first Common album people mention.

Also, other than the use of Bambaataa samples, I'm not sure how anything on 'UMD' sounds at all like Baltimore Club music. You're sort of out of your element on that comparison I think...

tray said...

No, it's not just you. I, for one, don't see Resurrection as anything more than a very good record, just like Reasonable Doubt is really just a very good record. Granted, I have a very limited notion of what a classic is (though it is big enough to include Ice Cream Man), and yours is a lot more capacious, you think multiple classics have come out in the past five years as I recall, but yeah, I think a lot of folks aren't absolutely crazy about Resurrection.

Trey Stone said...

i mean i'm not gonna try and argue In My Mind's flawless or anything, but to me it's more interesting than the usual sound associated with Neptunes, and i'd have no problem putting "You Can Do It Too," "Young Girl/I Really Like You" and "Number One" among their best material, even though i somehow doubt i'd find much support on any of those songs on the Internets

though yeah i would say i like Pharrell better as a singer than most seem to, partially because of the comedic factor when he sings really high.

tray said...

Yeah, Young Girl was quite a crazy MJ/Prince/whoever ripoff. Very interesting. Not up there with their best work, but interesting. You Can Do It Too, cool offbeat little song where P advises the poor that one day they can drive Phantoms too. Number One, though, total garbage.

DocZeus said...

"Also, other than the use of Bambaataa samples, I'm not sure how anything on 'UMD' sounds at all like Baltimore Club music. You're sort of out of your element on that comparison I think..."

That's a definite possibility. I was thinking of the stuff that I heard it sounded vaguely similar. Although, granted my extent of knowledge on that shit is the stuff they occasionally played in the background on the Wire and a couple of Wale records where he samples that shat. I'm thinking Chicago Falcon was the name.

Dart Adams said...

I hate this album with a passion. It really, really sucks. Really badly.

*Facepalm*

One.

tray said...

P did say he was headed in a Baltimore direction a while back, back when he made "Give It Up." But I guess it was just that one beat.

rm said...

That was pee my pants level funny. I am going to track this thing down to listen and laugh. It's not even sad anymore how fallen-the-f-off Common is, it's just entertaining.

Chew said...

Damn, Common, this is like Electric Circus all over again with Pharrell and Mr. DJ instead of other people. But mostly Pharrell. This album is probably the worst, WORST album by him, and a pretty anticipated one for me, but, ugh. I disagree on UMC (song) though. And who wasn't digusted by "What A World" Whats with those weak rhymes?

But Pharrell, hoo, take a break. A year or so, smell the new art around. Damn.

Album Rating: 5.7/10

I'll try to like the album though.At least like.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

i don't know, tray, i love resurrection and rarely give more than 6 or 7 songs from RD any play. for me, the subject matter is more engaging, and the lyrics are rapping are fun while not feeling tossed off. it seems like a snapshot of common's life at the time, while Reasonable Doubt sounds like someone trying their hand at popular topics in rap to mixed results.

DocZeus said...

The only flaw I see with Reasonable Doubt is the album is not the uber-influential album statys that revisionists have erroneously given credit to instead of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Ready to Die. That album is thorough otherwise.

tray said...

I think that

a) unlike OB4CL, the album lacks classic production (there are, what, 2-3 beats that anyone ever pulls off there to freestyle over)

b) unlike Ready To Die, which also doesn't have the most amazing beats in the world but is a classic in spite of that because of Big's out-of-this-world rapping, Jay is not a fully realized personality on the record, he's super-derivative, and while he does some things very well, verbose paranoia, storytelling, etc., there's still this tentative and store-bought quality to the persona he's affecting. In My Lifetime Vol. 1 is obviously a much less successful record, but by the time he made A Million And One Questions, he's the Jay we know and love. Reasonable Doubt is like this much more lyrical proto-Jay. That's just how I've always felt, anyway.

Renato Pagnani said...

Reasonable Doubt is not a classic? That is the most fucked up thing I've heard in a while (and I dislike the word immensely).

Derek said...

I happen to be a huge clipse fan. I don't think they are groundbreaking or anything but I certainly enjoy listening to them and it doesn't seem to ever get old for me. I also happen to HATE the neptunes. It makes me so frustrated. Why only neptunes beats? Maybe 1? Hov gets 1 or 2 and it's typically the worst beats on his albums. I don't get it. There's something about those beats that just don't resonate with me. Imagine clipse over premier? I know i know, anyone over premier, but how about any of the nicccee new york producers. Neptunes beats are missing some element that makes me hate them and want to rip my head off. Listen to one vs. a dilla beat and tell me you don't hear it.

Sorry for the rant, just need to vent.

Badmon3333 said...

If the Clipse had put out an album that was basically "Keyz Open Doorz," "Mr. Me Too" and a best-of 'We Got It 4 Cheap' compilation, it still would have been way better than 'Hell Hath No Fury.'

Badmon3333 said...

Re: New York producers... what the hell ever happened to Nashiem Myrick? He put together some of the best Bad Boy tracks, and did solid boardwork on 'The War Report'... maybe he went all religious, like Ma$e...

tray said...

T.O.N.Y. is a classic, other than that though I don't know much about Myrick. Although I remember he got a credit on the second Black Rob album, so he's not dead.

DocZeus said...

All I'm going to say is the hype about "Hell Hath No Fury" was correct when it came out.

"We Got It 4 Cheap" is the overrated shit.

"The War Report" was thorough.

Anonymous said...

Reasonable Doubt is a classic, straight up. The rhymes, production, Jay, everything is on point. The first five tracks are some of my all time favorites.

Badmon3333 said...

The intro and "Ride Around Shining" are hot, too. The rest is Pharrell-By-Numbers.

tray said...

I think Momma I'm Sorry is alright.

m-stunna said...

u guys are making a big deal out of this like he didnt already do it with electric circus! you make it like he didnt have anymore gayness left in him to do it again. most of the beats are tight bad beat selection all together, most of the beats would be a lot better utilized with other rappers on it. for example, nas on sex 4 suga.

Badmon3333 said...

Nothing on 'Electric Circus' is HALF as gay as "Sex 4 Suga."

Natan said...

a few points i had after briefly reading your comments:

Neptunes had plenty of dope beats, off the head i remember great work for Snoop, ODB, Cee-Lo & Twista.

Reasonable Doubt is overrated as hell, Jay-Z is the most overrated rapper ever. he's top 5 DOA, but nowhere near Nas, Eminem & Pac.

LMAO @ this article, i can't believe the album is THAT bad (Although i tend to agree with The Doc almost everytime)

Badmon3333 said...

"Reasonable Doubt is overrated as hell" - I suppose this shouldn't come as a surprise from someone who preceded it with "the Neptunes had plenty of dope beats."

Meanwhile, I challenge you to name any Eminem song as good as "Friend or Foe," "Coming of Age" or "Bring It On."

Swear to God, if you say "Stan"...

tray said...

I mean, everything he said was true except when he started talking about Nas, Eminem and Pac (Pac???).

Badmon3333 said...

Actually, I may overrule myself here... "Any Man" is as good as just about any track on 'Reasonable Doubt.' For wholly different reasons, though.

Badmon3333 said...

Re: Jay-Z being overrated... I suppose I can kinda get with that, if you're talking about everything post-'In My Lifetime, Vol. 1.' (and only about half of that was any good, anyway)

gorapsgo said...

Reasonable Doubt is the shit. I see basically nothing wrong with that album. D'evils is sick.
Alot of that album is just awesome.

And the beats on feelin' it, brooklyns finest, can't knock the hustle, Devils are all pretty sick...can I live is sick also. that whole fuckin album is Jay at his best, personal and what not, not so much glossy crap as his later stuff.

Badmon3333 said...

It's easily the best Jay-Z album. Far as I'm concerned, 'Vol. 2..." is the most overrated. The bonus CD all Roc-a-Fella's MC Such-and-Suches that came WITH it was better (the Beanie Sigel joint off that bonus CD is still my favorite of all his work).

Jesse said...

i think your review is too harsh. there are several nice beats and verses on that album. and the title track ain't that bad either if you take it for what it is.