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Electric Circus
     

Electric Circus

4.3 3
by Common
 

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Prior to the release of this eclectic Electric Circus, Common debuted the material live, in frenetic performances accompanied by his badass band A Black Girl Named Becky, his "queen" Erykah Badu, and Prince-ly neo-soulster Bilal. The shows were strong -- maybe too strong. Could the album live up to the hype? The answer is a captivating yes. Expanding on 2000's

Overview

Prior to the release of this eclectic Electric Circus, Common debuted the material live, in frenetic performances accompanied by his badass band A Black Girl Named Becky, his "queen" Erykah Badu, and Prince-ly neo-soulster Bilal. The shows were strong -- maybe too strong. Could the album live up to the hype? The answer is a captivating yes. Expanding on 2000's Like Water for Chocolate, the artist formerly known as Common Sense draws deep from the well of cosmic rock and soul pioneers such as Prince -- who plays guitar and keyboards on the "Erotic City"–esque "Star 69 (PS with Love)" -- and Jimi Hendrix, to whom a crooning Common and Badu pay homage on the electric guitar–laden "Jimi Was a Rock Star." Although the unsinkable Neptunes contribute two tracks, including "Come Close," featuring Mary J. Blige and reminiscent of A Tribe Called Quest, the disc is anchored by the jam session–inspired production of Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson from the Roots. As ringmaster, Thompson keeps this music event under control even under the crush of a multitude of guest stars, as Common recruits a posse of like-minded hip-hop-and-soul bohemians including Cee-Lo (the mantra-like "Between Me, You, & Liberation), Jill Scott (the big band swing "I Am Music"), and Brit hipster Omar (the ensemble jam "Heaven Somewhere") to join his Circus. Amid all the spectacle, though, it's Common, as poetic as ever, and so in love, who commands attention. So light up the Nag Champa, open your third eye, and let this visionary MC entertain you.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Sam Samuelson
Firmly out of the underground by the time Electric Circus came out in late 2002, Common takes the vision to the next level, employing high-profile producers ?uestlove, Dilla (Jay Dee), and the Neptunes. It's no surprise that the ?uestlove tracks push the most unclaimed territory. The Roots' Phrenology record, which appeared concurrent with Electric Circus, also flips the script on preconceived notions of beats and rhymes. Frequently the new sound on both records is pushed into a strange, sometimes aggressive, blunted rock/soul hybrid that still pulls the line for able-bodied MCs. Then there's also the Neptunes' tracks here, which are perfectly suited for MTV and urban radio. The Mary J. Blige duet, "Come Close," is a slow-paced dialogue between Common and Blige that borders on typical, but will still find a great number of fans. "Electric Wire Hustler Flower" is the true centerpiece of the record, though -- another ?uestlove jam, the song is tough but sensitive enough to maintain the layers of rhythm, rhyme, and abstraction. Electric Circus does suffer from that which ails many contemporary hip-hop albums -- too many guests (including a strange appearance by Laetitia Sadier [Stereolab]) and a generally lengthy program drag this one down a tad. Nonetheless, Electric Circus is a brave and ruthless statement wrapped in sincerity.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/10/2002
Label:
Mca
UPC:
0008811311421
catalogNumber:
113114
Rank:
71898

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Common   Primary Artist
Prince   Guitar,Keyboards
Bobbi Humphrey   Flute
Mary J. Blige   Background Vocals
Jef Lee Johnson   Guitar
Pino Palladino   Bass
Nicholas Payton   Trumpet
James Poyser   Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Hand Clapping
Greg Tardy   Cornet
Cee Lo Green   Vocals
?uestlove   Drums,Hand Clapping
Tye Tribbett & G.A.   Background Vocals
Pharrell Williams   Background Vocals
Damen Bennett   Flute
Bilal   Background Vocals
Tye Tribbett   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Jeff Chestek   Engineer
Timothy Day   Engineer
Larry Gold   String Arrangements
Jef Lee Johnson   Producer
Pino Palladino   Producer
James Poyser   Producer
Steve Russell   Vocal Engineer
Chris Steinmetz   Engineer
Femi Jiya   Engineer
Tim Day   Engineer
Anthony Bell   Engineer
Todd Fairall   Engineer
Josh Butler   Vocal Engineer
Scott Kieklak   Vocal Engineer
Common   Executive Producer
Karriem Riggins   Producer
?uestlove   Producer,Executive Producer
Steve Mandel   Engineer
Mike Tocci   Engineer
Andrew Coleman   Engineer
Ryan Moys   Engineer
Derek Dudley   Executive Producer
James Yancey   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Electric Circus 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Common's extraordinary musical style is ever-present on "Electric Circus". This is a nice CD to listen to, from beginning to end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
HOT ALBUM. A MIXTURE OF JAZZ ROCK SOUL PUT IN A BLENDER WITH HIP HOP BEATS.COMMON ONCE AGAIN MAKES SENSE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been a follower of common since his second album and he just won't let me go, his fusion with politics, love, hate, and understanding undoubtedly call to all who can listen. Have patience because this album speaks to you the way de la soul did, like when you hear a tribe called quest through your speakers cruising in the summer road, it makes sense. ?uestlove truly blesses this album with a couple visions that he's being dieing to unleash but could never find the right voice for his thoughts, enter common. Fusion with prince/hendrix rock with a little jazz from the avenues of dixieland laid over with light of hip-hop/soul that this album will truly open your third eye. Pick it up and it will pick YOU up