Track Review: Common, ‘Pyramids’
Common showcases immense grit on the hard-hitting “Pyramids,” among the crème de la crème from album, ‘Black America Again.’
After releasing “Love Star” back in September, Common would announce the release of Black America Again, his 11th studio album. “Love Star” was a respectable single, focused on romance, but not the deepest, most notable single of his career. Since dropping “Loving Star,” the MC has stepped up his game substantially. “Pyramids,” hence, represents the intellectual, socially-conscious rapper at his best.
The record features interesting production work, characterized by an enigmatic sound, specifically the synth. There is a darkness about it, which Common matches with agile, tough-minded rhymes. The hard, anchoring drums incite the head bumping. The beat is sick.
Common takes a shot right out the gate:
“A n*gga told me he only rhyme for 19-year-olds / n*gga, you should rhyme wherever the spirit goes / here it goes, lyrical miracles / these are pyramids from the imperial.”
Clearly, he wishes to make it clear that rap should be worldwide, transcendent, and not merely to impress a select few. He goes on to provide shout outs that include Public Enemy (“The reincarnation of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, coldest raps / for me the globe is like a cul-de-sac”) and The Roots (“The Roots are my n*ggas so I gotta fly bandwidth”). Showcasing his creativity and skill, Common cleverly references Egyptian culture, matching the song’s title. He doesn’t handle the hook duties, leaving that to an ODB sample:
“Talent that I got will riz-ock the spot / MCs I’ll be burning, burning hot…”
All in all, “Pyramids” is a hard-hitting single from Common, discussing legit rap as opposed to empty rap. He suggests he has a bigger purpose as a rapper and it stretches the world. He makes a brilliant cul-de-sac reference to this. Ultimately, “Pyramids” is exceptionally well produced and performed.