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 From the Kennedy Center
Runtime: 52 minWhen Nas was just 19 years old, he composed what would become one of hip-hop’s defining masterpieces, Illmatic. To mark its 20th anniversary, Nas delivers a standout performance alongside the National Symphony Orchestra at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center. With conductor Steven Reineke taking the orchestra through arrangements of beats by DJ Premier and Large Professor, Nas delivers impassioned renditions of tracks like “N.Y. State of Mind”, “The World Is Yours”, and “Memory Lane (Sittin’ in Da Park)”. Between songs, the program cuts away to both archival and new interview footage to document Nas’ rise from Queensbridge upstart to influential rap icon.
In Session 2003
Runtime: 16 minTalib Kweli performs live at the intimate In Session in 2003. The Session features performances of his hits; Good To You,” “Get By” and; the Blast.” The Session concludes with an interview with Talib Kweli.
Classic Albums: 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.