Released: May 2005
Common's return to form after Electric Circus hearkens to the urbane neo-soul of Like Water for Chocolate. Save for J Dilla's beats on "It's Your World" and "Love Is," it's produced by Kanye West, who tempers his chipmunk soul for an album that's melancholic yet hopeful for the future. The Last Poets' appearance on "The Corner" is a welcome surprise, and so is Kanye and Common's lively mic-trading routine on "The Food." Common works hard to make us remember his rap bona fides on "Chi-City," but Be comes from a place of love for his city and for hip-hop itself.