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Arts and Entertainment

Common @ the Wiltern Theatre - 9/6/07

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The rise of Common from the depths of underground hip hop has been a thing too watch. The Chicago emcee has constantly been one of the strongest and most consistantly solid emcees in the game, but was painfully under-listened and under-respected. He has always enjoyed critical success but it was the mainstream success that eluded him, that was until another fellow Chi-Town emcee by the name Kanye West came and swept him from the depths of the underground and brought him along with him on his own meteoric rise to the top of not only hip hop but music as well.

More Photos and Full Review after the jump....

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While he has always been referred to as a conscience emcee, a purveyor of neo-soul or bohemian rap. His music is as versatile as he is an emcee, with elements of jazz, R&B, soul and of course hip hop. The performance Thursday night at the Wiltern theatre exhibited this versatility and skill. He bobbed and weaved through tracks old and new, even stopping along the way to give a tour and lecture on Hip Hop of old and upping fellow "conscience" emcees like Mos Def, Talib Kweli and of course West. The middle section was also a standout of the show itself as Com Sense went from "Award Tour" to "NY State of Mind" to his own classic "I Used To Love H.E.R." and ending with an amazing freestyle.

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It is so refreshing to see an artist like Common to finally get what he deserves. His new album Finding Forever debuted at #1 on the billboard charts and he has become a Hollywood actor and GAP pusher, some would say "sell out" but I would say he is reaping what he has sowed. One line in the song "Break My Heart" was quite humorous and poignant of his career, it went like this" She said you know I don't be datin' rappers/ I said I got my SAG card, I'm an Actor"

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The crowd at the Wiltern was completely into the performance, jumping up and down with Common as he performed "Go" and singing along with the soulful "the Light'" (my personal fav Common song from the way back!) It was a thoroughly entertaining performance, especially when Hip Hop shows sometimes become five guys on stage with a DJ yelling and blunting out lines that you can't even understand. This performance was different, as Harry Belafonte narrated and took us through a journey through Common's 15+ year career. Common is one of the few artists who can move on to greater successes and still respect and obey his past.

All Photos by Joey Maloney/LAist.com