Features | Awards

The Award for Somehow Being Far Shittier than Common's Super-Shitty Finding Forever

By Chet Betz | 16 December 2008

Universal Mind Control
(Geffen; 2008)

I think we can all agree that those first couple hot singles aside, Finding Forever (2007) was the sound of Common finally crumbling into the self-important pile of drivel we always feared he would someday become (I mean, Electric Circus [2002] was bad but at least it wasn’t so insipid). Who knew, though, that that inevitable and apocalyptic coming-to-a-head of all his worst tendencies would leave an aftermath that goes beyond all our fears and worst imaginings, something that makes playing Fallout 3 feel like Viva Pinata in comparison: the man who made “I Used to Love H.E.R.” has now with big budget backing made a stilted yacht-rap imitation of a raunchy ghettotech come-on. The only way Common’s not perpetrating a crime against us, himself, and hip-hop would be if he’s being satirical (as the album title might indicate). The problem is that I don’t give a shit. Universal Mind Control is fucking ______. Fill the blank with any and every synonym of “atrocious.”

That Common manages to collect seven Neptunes beats that are all garbage is in itself an outstanding achievement in wackness but that doesn’t even speak to the abominations he performs on the mic—which nothing really should speak to per the bounds of decency. I counted three fairly positive reviews on Metacritic; enjoy your payola, guys. Saying one enjoys this wretched record is like saying one enjoys disembowelment. You can judge for yourself, I suppose, by listening to Universal Mind Control on Common’s Myspace…but then you’d have to kill him. Which is fine but I get to kill him first. This is the sound of attempted mind control utterly backfiring.