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A meeting of hip-hop legends here as Chicago emcee Common joins with NYC producer Pete Rock for new single Wise Up and…it’s pretty damn good actually. Despite PR claims that ‘this record captures a new sound’ it’s actually a text book case of how to make late nineties/early 2000s-style conscious hip-hop by two people who were there making it at the time, paid their dues and – as it transpires – can still drop the bomb a quarter of a century later. Rock’s beat is a phat piece of boom-bap based around crisp drums and a piano loop while Common sticks to his strengths by giving his Mr Loverman raps a swerve and coming at you with street bars rich in both internal and external rhymes (“I saw venom in the eyes of a snake/ The Solomon for common men/ I wise up the place”) while describing Rock in a way that acknowledges how hip-hop paved the way fifty years later for Beyonce to dominate the holiest of white American holies, country music, “My man ain’t from Dallas/ But he know where the techs is/ Hold ‘em/ My poker face is golden.” Comes with a video shot on the street by Marleaux Desiré. Any chance of a vinyl 7″?
(Out now on Loma Vista/ Concord)

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