Common has unshakable faith in rap as inspiration: as a party-starter, a spirit-raiser, a consciousness-transformer. A great hip-hop record can be all those things, especially when the beats are right, and No I.D., who produced all of Common’s ninth album, grounds the songs with a steady bass and drums rumble, adding dashes of color like the Kenny Loggins sample in "Celebrate." But Common can be too, well, common: a nice guy, whose boasts and bromides are too predictable to really inspire.
Listen To "Celebrate":
• Rolling Stone Live: Common