Review Roundup: Common – ‘Universal Mind Control’

Common’s eighth studio album Universal Mind Control hits stores and digital retailers on Tuesday. What are the critics saying? Find out below.

Entertainment Weekly: Universal Mind Control seems to move Common backward instead of forward, which for a lyricist of his caliber is truly disappointing. C

Rolling Stone: Rap’s deep thinker wanted to make club bangers. He’s still history-minded; the title track is textbook Eighties electro. Elsewhere, he name-checks Fiona Apple (the bouncy “Make My Day,” with Cee-Lo) and dubs himself “rap’s Ziggy Stardust” (“Gladiator”). 3 out of 5

The New York Times: The Neptunes have created beats better suited to a far more enthusiastic and versatile M.C. Paging Kanye West: Please phone home, Common needs you.

SPIN: While we’re used to Common in the role of poetic prophet or self-righteous rhyme slayer, Universal Mind Control is primarily a rhythmic celebration, paying tribute to Afrika Bambaataa and Jonzun Crew jams. 3.5 out of 5

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Universal Mind Control,” “Punch Drunk Love,” “Make My Day,” “What a World”