19 years ago, Chicago rap icon Common released his fifth studio album, “ Electric Circus” . Even though, this album was not Common’s greatest commercial success, it was one of his most anticipated and critically acclaimed albums.
Go off the beaten track
This album came at a time in hip-hop where we were witnessing a rise in power of neo-soul-influenced projects. Artists like OutKast, The Roots, Most Def, Goodie Mob and Jay Electronica pioneered the era and made eclectic rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole as popular as they are today. hui.
At the time, Common had said he “didn’t feel hip-hop” and this dissatisfaction with the genre was at the root of his eclectic new sound that fuses hip-hop, pop, rock, electronic music and neo-soul to create an electric sound circus.
The inspiration for this album came from artists like ” Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix”, and Electric Circus was one of those projects that went so far outside the box that they allowed hip-hop to breathe and flourish. stand out from club hits that came from the Dirty South and West Coast gangsta rap. This paved the way for a refreshing sound in rap, which is now predominant in the sound of countless artists.
Eclectic music and sharp lyrics
Much of the production was carried out by a collective of musicians called The Soulquarians. This group of musicians were created during the recording of Common’s previous album, Like Water for Chocolate, and consisted of? Uestlove by The Roots, Jay Dee of Slum Village, keyboardist James Poyser and bassist Pino Palladino.
It is precisely this live instrumentation that has helped shape the new sound that has been put forward on this album. This project also benefited from the production of famous J Dilla and The Neptunes. Lyrically, Common has stayed true to his underground roots and delved into previously unexplored topics in the industry.
The subjects covered in the album push the boundaries of society by tackling the themes of sexual abuse, homophobia and racial injustice, like Like Water For Chocolate . On this project, Common also worked with an eclectic group of extremely talented lyricists such as Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige , Erykah Badu , Cee-Lo Green and Bilal.