Artistic Growth is the best way you can describe Common as an emcee, From his early days of Can I Borrow a Dollar to Resurrection(his best LP) to One day till it all make sense to Like Water for chocolate, You can sense Common sounding wiser and showcasing more maturity with the topics he’s touching on within every album. This is the main reason why his career has spanned within almost 20 years.
Although the music on Common’s 4th LP is somewhat considered soft compared to his previous LPs, You still get signs of the old vintage Common on tracks like the DJ Premier produced 6th Sense which is unquestionably the best song on the album and one of the best songs of his entire career. I love the way Common tackles the issue of the negative effects Hip Hop is leaving and showcasing that pro blackness so openingly.
Cold Blooded with Black Thought sounds like a classic jazz rap session and surprisingly comes across as sounding pretty good.,Doonit is where Common once again reverts into Mad Rapper mode and attacks garbage rappers within the commercial genre. This is where Common is at his best and Doonit let his peers know that he can go back into that mindset if he really is tested or has too.
One surprise that may catch fans of Common is that he actually has a PIMP track here. People may look at it as hypocrisy on Common’s part but A Film Called Pimp is actually entertaining and plays off a pretty dope concept with Common being a Pimp and MC Lyte playing the Hoe. This type of track even surprised me at first but if you really listen to what Com is saying, Theres also substance behind it so it’s not too far-fetched. The Light was also an example of a risky approach Common took for this album which surprisingly became his most successful single to date.
There are some parts of LWFC where Common sorta of misses the mark and that can be blamed on the production. The sequel to PayBack is a Grandmother where Com is on a mission to gain back his Grandmother’s missing possessions is a prime example. The Concept is there, The lyrics are on point but its the boring production that drags the track down. There also disappointments such as Heat, Thelonious and Questions which was a disappointing collaboration with Mos Def made you wish that Common had given No ID a call
Luckily though LWFC’s brightest moments occur near the end of the album as we are treated with two soulful tracks titled Gheto Heaven and the musically beautiful A Song for Assatta which A touchy tribute to Assata Shakur. What I love about Song for Assatta is that he painted a perfect audio-biography picture of Assata’s story and her struggle. It’s possibly one of the greatest hip hop songs I’ve ever heard and mix that with Cee Lo Green’s course and a message at the end from Assata herself. This song is a certified classic in my opinion. Overall Like Water For chocolate remains as one of the best albums in Commons career. If you’re a fan of hip hop definitely buy this!
Vic Rating 9 outta 10