Common, "Like Water for Chocolate" (2000) [Nostalgic.Nightfalls]
Ugh, life has caught up to me, it seems--been a couple of weeks since I updated this page. Like Water for Chocolate was undoubtably the first major commercial success by Common, who by the time this album came out was already a Hip-Hop veteran that unfortunately hadn't quite garnered the attention from mainstream he'd deserved, despite the dazzling, magnetic texture of his voice, effortless lyrical abilities and persistently conscious nature of his rhymes. Luckily for Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., who'd seemed not able to crack the mainstream game open all by himself, the movement that he'd become a part of thanks to his relationships with Questlove and fellow conscious Hip-Hop artists Talib and Mos Def, had just about risen to the climax of its maniacal creativity and eccentric soulfulness. While soul and R&B music had paved the groundwork for Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop in turn motivated the development of Neo-Soul. Although at most a rapper, having grown up in Chicago in the 70's and 80's, Common had been a big-time fan of soul music his whole life, therefore embracing the mission of the Soulquarians to the fullest and welcoming Quest, D'angelo, Dilla and others into his production process with open arms, while himself effervesced with inspired lyrics that blessed the album with a tireless focus. Result? One of the funkiest and most cohesive Hip-Hop albums of all time (that didn't sacrifice versatility: consider "Heat" vs. "Ghetto Heaven"), and the essential artwork that finally put Common on the map of major creative minds in Hip-Hop. Oh, and did I mention "The Light"? I shouldn't have to.
🔑 Tracks: "The Light"; "Thelonius"; "Time Travelin"