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The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

Recent
Music

Common: Black America Again

Chicago veteran returns with his 11th album, a record that sees Common reinvigorated and at his most potent and inspired, marking another entry into one of the most consistent discographies in hip-hop history.

Music

Common Still Making Sense in Shaping Hip-Hop

Common: "I feel energized right now by all the beautiful art out there -- Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book (Between the World and Me), Hamilton, what’s going on in Chicago hip-hop. I’ve been rereading James Baldwin. I feel sparked as an artist."

Greg Kot
Music

How We All Survived the Astoundingly Morose 57th Annual Grammy Awards

AC/DC opened the telecast with a song called "Rock or Bust", a prophetic ultimatum that was answered all too quickly by a cavalcade of performers who seemed to be tripping over themselves to see who could be the most uninspiring of them all.

Music

Common: Nobody's Smiling

The veteran Chicago rapper returns to his troubled hometown on a conscious album for a post-conscious age.

Reviews

Common and Atmosphere Make Freezing History at Colorado’s Red Rocks

Minneapolis indie rap crew Atmosphere seemed an iffy choice to headline the landmark show, but the capacity crowd welcomed the group as if they were a St. Bernard carrying the world’s largest brandy cask.

Matt Farley
Music

Keeping It Real: Dreams, Mind-Alteration, & Misperception in Hip-Hop

Hip-hop has been engaged in an ongoing tension between fantasy and reality, art and artifice but rappers, like all good artists, sometimes have to lie in order to tell the truth.

Events

Gil Scott-Heron, Derrick Hodge: 27.June.2010 - New York

Gil Scott-Heron brought his legendary brand of soul, and surprise guest, Common, to Central Park’s Summerstage Sunday.

Film

Summer of Same: May 2009

May's titles include the fourth films in two aging franchises, more Pixar perfection, and the reboot of a TV series from 40 years ago. And they say there are no new ideas.

Music

Various Artists: Dillanthology Vol. 1

Although it offers nothing new, this is a fine introductory piece for new or unacquainted J Dilla listeners.

Film

Superheroes Versus Comics

There can be no doubt that the summer of 2008 stands as a high-water mark for superheroes. But in the wake of a superhero renaissance and the growing cultural legitimacy of the genre, the question must be posed: Has the superhero genre evolved beyond the comics medium?

shathley Q
Music

The Best Albums of 2008

PopMatters presents our 60 best albums of 2008, highlighted by the return of British trip-hop legends and some infectious American indie rock by way of the Cascade Mountains.

Music

Common: Universal Mind Control

Pharrell and his Neptunes exert a svengali-like control over the record, helping Common release his most contrived and banal album to date.

Music

The Best Hip-Hop of 2008

A return to the mic nine years in the making, a hip-hop supergroup of sorts, and Tom Waits beatboxing: this year's top-shelf hip-hop is equal parts anticipation, teamwork, and wha?!

Reviews

Wanted

Angelina Jolie has evolved. As of Wanted, she is no longer merely mortal, but her own sublime creature.

Music

The Roots: Rising Down

Eighth studio album from Philly's legendary hip-hop crew, a minor-key rush of synthesizer-heavy vamps and distrustful rhymes, features cameos from Mos Def, Talib Kweli and more.

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The Return of the Popcorn Circus: June 2008

If May almost tent-poled itself out of existence, June will be even worse. After all, are audiences really ready for 13 major release in less than two months -- with more to come?

Music

Common: Thisisme Then

Herein lies another industry rule. Record companies count on us to buy the same music (at least) twice.

Reviews

American Gangster

As much as American Gangster loves Frank's intelligence and charisma, it must also condemn his criminality.

Music

Common: Finding Forever

As good as Finding Forever is -- and it's very good -- it's hard to imagine it vaulting Common into superstar status. It's the curse of being sly and thoughtful.

Reviews

Smokin Aces (2006)

Smokin' Aces mashes together at least four movies, with all plots and characters spinning around a Vegas card trickster.

Film

Dave Chappelles Block Party (2006)

Block Party sustains a balance between good-natured light-heartedness social commentary.

Dante A. Ciampaglia
Music

Common: Be

Electric Circus pushed the boundaries of hip-hop -- a psychedelic trip to hip-hop's great beyond -- Be just finds a world-wide Common back home standing on the corner. But you can't go home again and no matter how much he wishes, the Common of Can I Borrow a Dollar? is not the same Common of Be -- and thank God for that.

Mark Anthony Neal
Music

"Real, Compared to What": Anti-War Soul

The original version of 'Compared to What' is a powerful example of black pop that wasn't afraid, echoing Audre Lorde, to speak truth to power.

Mark Anthony Neal
Music

'Like Water for Chocolate': Common's Recipe for Progressive Hip-Hop

In many regards, Common is still caught up in the hyper-masculine universe that has historically pervaded much of hip-hop. But in Like Water for Chocolate, he finds fluidity over stasis.

Mark Anthony Neal
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Common: Like Water For Chocolate

Colin Ross
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