The Source - 10/92, p.553.5 Stars
- Good Plus - "..an album 13 cuts deep with Chicago flava...a very unique hardcore, yet jazz-influenced, underground sound...The production is top notch.."
Personnel: Common Sense (vocals); Tony Orbach (saxophone); Lenny Underwood (keyboards); Kenny Aaronson (bass); Twilite Tone, Tarsha Jones (background vocals); Immenslope, Rayshel.
Producers: Immenslope, The Beat Nuts, Twilite Tone.
Lyricist: Common Sense.
Personnel: Common Sense (rap vocals); Tony Orbach (saxophone); Lenny Underwood (keyboards); Kenny Aaronson (bass guitar); The Twilite Tone, Tarsha Jones (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Chuck Valle; Kirk Yano.
Recording information: Calliope Studios, New York, NY; East Side Sound Recording Studio, New York, NY; Unique Recording Studio, New York, NY.
Photographer: Paul Elledge.
Arrangers: The Twilite Tone; 2pc.DRK; Immenslope; The Beatnuts.
The first album by Chicago MC Common, CAN I BORROW A DOLLAR?, is widely accepted in hip-hop's underground as a classic. Raw cuts like "Blows to the Temple" demonstrate why, and give listeners a glimpse at a legend in the making.
With CAN I BORROW A DOLLAR?, a younger, more careless Common was simply out to demonstrate his talents to a nation obsessed with New York and L.A. rap. The lo-fi beat structure of the album is reminiscent of the music of the early '90s, when heavy jazz and funk influences dominated East Coast hip-hop. Though the disc is layered with gritty beats and samples that now seem familiar, they seem vibrant when put into context with other material of the same era. The Beatnuts offer one of their early productions on "Heidi Hoe," a track that may shock listeners who are used to Common's more reflective, socially aware lyrics of today. While certainly not his best work, die-hard fans won't be disappointed.