DAR Roundtable: Common's Like Water For Chocolate vs BE

Like Water For Chocolate

1. Time Travelin'(A Tribute To Fela)
2. Heat
3. Cold Blooded
4. Dooinit
5. The Light
6. Funky For You
7. The Questions
8. Time Travelin' Reprise
9. The 6th Sense
10. A Film Called(Pimp)
11. Nag Champa
12. Thelonious 
13. Payback Is A Grandmother
14. Geto Heaven Part Two
15. A Song For Assata
16. Pops Rap III... All My Children



1. Be(Intro)
2. The Corner
3. GO! 
4. Faithful
5. Testify
6. Love is.... 
7. Chi-City
8. The Food
9. Real People
10. They Say
11. It's Your World - Part 1 & 2

Today, we wanted to take a look at the two most critically acclaimed albums in Common's discography and see which one comes out the victor. Without further adieu, let's get into it.

Be is my favorite. I go with Be because, while it isn't as experimental as LWFC, it's more concise. It and Finding Forever paint a perfect portrait of Common in my opinion.

Gotta go with BE and it's not close. However, Like Water for Chocolate is very respectable and has gems on it like the classic, The Light. "Song for Assata" is also another great track. LWFC is extremely mature and I appreciate the Dilla-isms throughout. If I'm not mistaken, the Soulquarians was still all over this project, which keeps it neo soul. That is also the flaw of the album to me, as it is pretty boring IMO. No album in Common's extensive and classic catalog is on the level of Be. It was Common at his purest and hungriest. You can thank Kanye for that much needed creative spark. Every song on Be is classic. My favorite joint on there is "The Food", where Common and Yeezy just spit over that piano laden 1920 Chicago style production. There is still copious amounts of soul in this album and it still stands the test of time. BE, no contest.

Be is one of the most sonically perfect albums I have ever fell in love with. Like Water For Chocolate is a great album, but when I want to sit back and listen to a Common album from start to finish, Be is always my go to.

In a sense of content, I respect the fact that Like Water For Chocolate was commercially successful and still consistent with Common's content heavy nature. The production is amazing and Common was really rapping his ass off. Maybe it's the time that these albums came into my life that leads to my preference. There is nothing unappealing about Like Water For Chocolate, it's packed full of emotion and speaking honestly, sometimes it's too heavy for me to listen to on a regular basis.

Be came after Electric Circus and I feel like Common came extra hard to prove he was more than capable of creating another cohesive, well put together album. His lyrics over Kanye soul samples and J Dilla production is pure greatness. I can play Be on repeat for a whole day and never feel the need to change or skip a track. The album is concise and well, perfect.

Be was a beautiful album. Built off the foundation of Kanye and Dilla himself. Common's trademark stanza like rhyme scheme and smooth storytelling created a masterpiece. The Last Poets add to the poetic feel of the album as well of course. The shocking twist of Testify was absolute greatness. The imagery of urban livelihood, sex, love, and personal growth really had Common showing that's he's nothing to fuck with. A return to his 2nd nature of Hip-Hop after that failed experiment known as Electric Circus. Adding the live Dave Chappelle version of The Food was a nice touch too, showing that live performing is a true testament to being a great MC. Definitely loved how it was short, sweet, and to the point. Never drags, each track stands out with its own level of fire, and the live instruments give it that signature soul touch for rap albums.

With BE, some of my favorites are on here with "Testify", "Love is..", and "Faithful". Common puts a lot of heart and soul into his music and you can feel it.

Common's positive point of view on the world just makes you want to go out and do a good deed for no reason for someone. Common is a great story teller for the Afrocentric voice for sure. "It's Your World" is like his version of "I Can". Be peaceful.

On the other hand, Like Water For Chocolate is a staple in black renaissance music. "This is rap for real. Something you feel." You're inhumane if you can't feel anything off of this album. I love the thick bass lines and the peek common gives us into his mind on "The Questions". Lines like "Can't imagine going through it without soul music", and "If the revolution had a movie I'd be theme music." sum up Common in a couple of bars. The peak on this album was definitely "The Sixth Sense" with DJ Premier that track is flawless. If we're talking the better musical work, it's definitely Like Water For Chocolate, but BE is my personal favorite.

This is an extremely close comparison and though a few folks on here may think its not, I believe they are sleeping on Like Water For Chocolate, which is my choice barely. BE and LWFC are both classics and flawless albums, and the neo soul sound is great here, along with nothing but live instrumentation. Both albums represent a time of soul searching for Common, one of which led him to a more electric path and reflective black power path. BE was more internal along with some amazing work and production. I think songs like "The Questions", "Nag Champa", "A Song For Assata", "The Sixth Sense" and many others on LWFC hold up very well against the best tracks on BE. A tough decision, but I will give it to LWFC, just barely, and it was tough to make that decision considering "Real People" and "It's Your World" are two of my all time favorite Common tracks, but I got to go with LWFC. Tough choice, but you can't go wrong with either album.

What would your choice be? Let us know in the comments below.



Popular Posts