After years of quiet supremacy on the mic, Common broke through to the mainstream riding the wave of an active career and several endorsements. After a career resurgence courtesy of Kanye West, Common was on pace to be an emcee that garnered both critical and commercial acclaim for his musical efforts.

So why are critics panning his eighth effort, Universal Mind Control?

Surprisingly, Common received no love from one of his hometown papers, the Chicago Tribune. Critic Greg Kot juxtaposed much of the review for Control with the campaign of Barack Obama, calling Common’s album “more of the same” that “brims with the most trivial and disposable music of [Common’s] career.”

Chicago’s other major paper, the Chicago Sun-Times also hammered the effort, and some of its superstar producers as well.

“As superstar producers the Neptunes deliver some of their weakest, most cliched and most phoned-in tracks ever — heavy on the generic techno thumps, synth burbles and played-out vocoder backing vocals — one of hip-hop’s most accomplished freestylers drops one leaden rap after another. Most are about sex, although there also are a couple of uncharacteristic “ain’t I great” boast-fests via ‘Gladiator’ and ‘What a World,’” critic Jim DeRogatis wrote.

Universal Mind Control hits store shelves Tuesday.


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