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The Chicago MC, who most know now as Common, released his debut, "Can I Borrow A Dollar?" as Common Sense in 1992. Coming straight out of his days as a B-Boy on the Southside Chi-Town streets, it is prior to the time he became a conscious Hip Hop act as did lots of political work, but has a distinctive underground sound which was then dominated by East Coasters.
1. "A Penny For My Thoughts"
To start this one off you find him just breaking into one of many killer tunes on this album as you get No I.D. (then known as Immenslope) providing some relevant movie snippets to sample before he shows what he is able to do with classic Soul from Eddie Kendricks and Funk from none other than Funkadelic, and of course it made for something amazing. I know the Kendricks sample more for a Drum and Bass remix from Alix Perez, so it engaged me into the record.
2. "Charms Alert"
Here as we get right into things you are able to here what exactly he is about, and get over the short phase where he is seen as a novelty to it all. The production sees the use of "Juicy Fruit", and with that classic work you see him make the most of the slow-paced stuff to show that he can not only ride the lower-sped stuff effectively, but also break this and speed it up without it sounding out-of-place at all.
3. "Take It EZ"
The wide variety of samples used to intro this one just shows exactly how much the producer, 2 pc. DRK knows his tunes as he used more Funk, and Old School Hip Hop which use the phrase in the title to base it on and from here you find Comm' Sense showing that he is all about doing things his own way, and despite hearing guidance from some people, he does things in just the way he wants.
4. "Heidi Hoe"
This is the one and only appearance by The Beatnuts on production for this one, and I felt like it was a nice added change to things as they present something which offers some variation for it, and it seesm as though Common was motivated to do a track which really doesn't match with his current character as he hides his light misogyny in some complex and intricate flows.
5. "Breaker 1/9"
I have to say that without a doubt this is my favourite track off his debut album and it stands out so much for the sample of the Isley Brothers which has been used. Their "Between The Sheets" has been utilised on so many occasion in the Hip Hop world, but at this time it hadn't been used for classics such as "Big Poppa", "Ignorant S**t and "Luxurious", and it makes such an impact as you hear it's laid-back sounds.
6. "Two Scoops Of Raisins"
This is a fairly lengthy track from him, and so it seesm to stand out for the reason that he uses this to slow the pace down and do a track which gives you a better opportunity to follow his rhymes (which have such complexity that you probably won't be able to keep up by listening to it just once). Immenslope himself flows on this one, and it makes for an interesting element to look out for. From it you hear that Comm' work directly off the rhymes he hears from him.
7. "No Defence" (Lude)
8. "Blows To The Temple"
Here he seems to appeal more to that side which he has separated himself from now, and ever since he commented on how he is corrupted Hip Hop since being taken to the West Coast, as he does one which seesm to take him into the Gangsta Rap style of it all, but he manages to bring it to something he is more familiar with as his flows refer to much less aggressive things on some Breakbeats.
9. "Just In The Nick Of Rhyme"
Common makes his rhymes the focus of the track here, not in a way that is seen in any other one as here you here the beat built up for so long that the tension is overflowing before 2 pc. DRK drops some freaky original stuff on it and shows just how strong he is with the word-play. At this early stag he is just showing how capable he is before he puts those skills to use with more relevant themes.
10. "Tricks Up My Sleeve"
Comm' perform with Rayshel (whoever he is) on this one, and you see that he really has so many hidden talents behind him that you just cannot doubt that he will surprise you with the next thing that he chooses to do, and to complement this the producer frequent witches the percussion to show how versatile he is as a Hip Hop performer.
11. "Puppy Chow"
This is most unlike the MC we know now, and although we saw him return to this in a parody in later material, this one sees him go for a track which has him doing a track which you wouldn't know any different to as he raps about how often he dogs girls and bails out on them after being with them for a while and then moving on to another without telling the other it's over first.
12. "Soul By The Pound"
As we get towards the end of the thing, we get on to the third and final single from the album and on top of the Immenslope beats he chooses to experiment with the way that he rhymes as he begins it with some full rhymes before changing this to fit in to the style which many others would do then. He brings everything on this track on DeBarge's "I Like It", and it really made it come together well.
13. "Pitchin' Pennies" (Outro)
T is good to look back on an album such as this to see Common's progression in the gam, but not only for this, but for their development of the Chicago Hip Hop scene as a whole. What I got from it is that it seesm as though the speedy rhymes which he adopted hear, and moved on from soon after shows that he always stayed with what is current (and even went ahead of the times when you look at "Like Chocolate For Water", "Electric Circus" and "Universal Mind Control"), and this can't be said when you look at how Twista stuck with this from debuting in 1991, and remains to do this played-out fad. This is a classic from him, and if you like his music, then you need to check this.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Penny for My Thoughts
2 Charms Alarm
3 Take It Ez
4 Heidi Hoe
5 Breaker 1/9
6 Two Scoops of Raisins
7 No Defense
8 Blows to the Temple
9 Just in the Nick of Rhyme
10 Tricks up My Sleeve
11 Puppy Chow
12 Soul by the Pound
13 Pitchin' Pennies