• Record Label: Geffen
  • Release Date: May 24, 2005
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Entertainment Weekly
    91
    Be's leanness signals awesome growth even without pushing sonic boundaries. [27 May 2005, p.136]
  2. A sprawling, varied disc that's as laid-back as a cool summer afternoon.
  3. Spin
    91
    Even when the music flags, Common's remarkably hungry raps push it along. [Jun 2005, p.102]
  4. Vibe
    90
    Overflowing with passion, honesty, and optimism, Be gets to the root of human experience--all the while staying beautifully soulful and funky. [Jun 2005, p.156]
  5. Q Magazine
    90
    Common's best album so far, one that proves hip hop can be both smart and mainstream. [Jul 2005, p.114]
  6. The lack of instant-gratification couplets may disappoint at first, but each verse's rewarding intricacies become more evident with multiple listens.
  7. Filter
    86
    Although Kanye's production work has certainly been more spectacular in the past, his subtle tweaks and inversions on Be provide Com with a revamped template. [#16, p.94]
  8. Sure, there’s no “Watermelon” or “Communism”, but Be’s wit presents on a grander scale than a dependence on sprinkled, chucklable oneliners would allow.
  9. The album is an extremely satisfying listen, but if Common is to lead the revolution, he has to make more of a statement than a great bass line and some tight rhymes.
  10. Be isn't likely to be referred to by anyone as groundbreaking, but it's one of Common's best, and it's also one of the most tightly constructed albums of any form within recent memory.
  11. Blender
    80
    Be picks up where West's The College Dropout left off. [Jun 2005, p.113]
  12. West is the producer Common has been waiting for all of his career: He makes Common both catchier and edgier at the same time.
  13. The New York Times
    80
    "Be" is certainly a triumph, but if it isn't quite the all-time classic Common was hoping for, that's because it sounds a bit too straightforward. [25 May 2005]
  14. Be is Common getting his "grown man" on.
  15. Common's naturally smooth flowing voice is a pleasure to listen to, making even the times when he is overreaching his grasp that much more tolerable in comparison to lesser peers.
  16. After blasting off into outer space with Electric Circus, Common returns to more solid ground with Be, but thanks to West, Poyser, and Jay Dee, the sounds are often nothing short of heavenly.
  17. West presents Common with a real challenge: rich rhythmic compositions that demand equally vivid verses. The elder MC responds with sharp Polaroid poetry, and the result of their collaboration is an uncluttered journalistic counterpoint to the rambling memoir that is The College Dropout.
  18. Uncut
    80
    The record's feel, like West's College Dropout, offers a rich jukebox of gospel-tinged R&B flavours over which Common scatters his gems. [Aug 2005, p.97]
  19. New Musical Express (NME)
    80
    Gives hope to a hip-hop stuck in a mire of mediocrity. [18 Jun 2005, p.64]
  20. Though not quite 2005's best hip-hop album - [Kanye] West retains that honour for himself - Be is a lean and vibrant masterclass in hip-hop fundamentals.
  21. Regardless of the modernist leanings of Kanye's techniques, the album retains an organic feel that rivals Com's hemp beanie and Erykah Badu's incense.
  22. Be won’t win many points for daring, but in terms of user-friendly hip-hop charged by a refreshingly positive undercurrent, it more than hits its hard-to-miss mark.
  23. Lazily accomplished without ever truly igniting, a classy update on a slightly dated hip-hop sound.
  24. In a year that has also brought the envelope-pushing production work of Edan’s album Beauty and the Beast, the rehashed soul sometimes comes off limp, too content with itself and its well-worn form to challenge the genre’s status quo.
  25. So frustrating then, for such a multitalented rapper, to have his supposed magnum opus weak, stale, and far more aged than we’d expect.
  26. Each neo-soul nod to the R&B sound of Detroit, immediately post-Holland-Dozier-Holland, sounds more claustrophobic and limited than the last.
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 142 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 142
  1. Aug 5, 2014
    9
    Be is not quite a classic, but it's pretty close. Every track fits together seamlessly, and the combination of Common's lyricism with Kanye'sBe is not quite a classic, but it's pretty close. Every track fits together seamlessly, and the combination of Common's lyricism with Kanye's production is a slam dunk. Some use the fact that it's a "safe album" as a criticism, but using a modest tone and not necessarily pushing lyrical boundaries cannot stop this album from being memorable and being known as the peak of a fantastic artist's career. ~ 8.7/10

    Best tracks: "The Corner", "Faithful", "Testify" & "The Food (Live)"
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 6, 2016
    10
    one word for this masterpiece. incredible. the rhymes, hooks and production is mind blowing. each track flows with one and another making forone word for this masterpiece. incredible. the rhymes, hooks and production is mind blowing. each track flows with one and another making for an enjoyable listen .one of my favorite albums. Full Review »
  3. Apr 25, 2012
    3
    Common has undeniable talent, but for outsiders to the genre Be lacks any real attraction or punch. Even with Kanye producing, I can't helpCommon has undeniable talent, but for outsiders to the genre Be lacks any real attraction or punch. Even with Kanye producing, I can't help but wish it had a little more bounce. Full Review »