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Best album of 2005 (tie) | The rest of the Best of 2005
COMMON, Be, Geffen
Enlisting the help of 2004's MVP, Common sets out to truly create the best of both worlds by combining his lyricism with the production of fellow Chicago native Kanye West. The result is a worthy follow-up to 2000's classic Like Water for Chocolate that excuses his experimental departure on 2002's Electric Circus. All but two tracks are produced by West, and those that aren't -- "Love Is" and "It's Your World" -- don't miss a beat. Concise at 11 cuts, Be is an easy listen that never requires the fast forward button. Highlights include "Testify," a brief, catchy courtroom narrative of a wrongful conviction; "Go" with John Mayer, who showed he was down with a "Chappelle's Show" (R.I.P.) appearance and his own VH-1 show featuring Trick Daddy as his sidekick; and "The Food" featuring the aforementioned Kanye West, live from "Chappelle's Show" (a moment of silence, please). But really, they're all worth a listen. As Common says on "Chi-City": "You ask me where hip-hop is going. It's Chicagoin'." If the trend of the past two years continues, he's right. Chalk up another classic for Common.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Mason Storm

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