Common – The Dreamer, The Believer (album review)

It’s been a while since we’ve done a collaborative review and seeing that both of us are fans of Common, we found that the release of The Dreamer, The Believer is perfect timing to resurrect our unique review style. So let’s get into it…

The Dreamer feat. Maya Angelou

Satchford: As soon as the beat comes on you have to get excited of what could be with this No ID/Common album. This beat bangs.
SwagGordon: I agree
SwagGordon: that voice in the background bleeds melancholy
Satchford: “a Legend like John, Lennon I’ma Dreamer”
SwagGordon: the echoing reminds me of the style J Dilla used in the Shining
SwagGordon: clever line right there
Satchford: Spitting from the perspective of a dreamer, I think Common does a good job with inspiring but relevant lines that listeners can relate to,
Satchford: “At the mountain top, you still gotta dream…”
SwagGordon: I like the concept of being a dreamer
SwagGordon: it’s a more conservative version of hunger
Satchford: Think about it, most of his albums he starts out with meaningful records such as this one.
SwagGordon: very true
SwagGordon: “maybe I’ma hopeless hip hop romantic”….pure lyricism
Satchford: The melody is a lil “sleepy” but No ID really brought the proper bounce to it
SwagGordon: that’s for sure
SwagGordon: the end of the song with the poetry just pulls you in more and keeps your ears open
Satchford: Agreed, its key for listeners to listen closely at this point because it really brings the overall message back around.
SwagGordon: totally and it provides a great transition to the next song

Ghetto Dreams feat. Nas
Satch’s Review

Blue Sky

The Sample to ‘Blue Sky’
SwagGordon: the build up to this song is crazy
Satchford: Blue Sky is pure inspiration. It shows Common doing what he does best, inspire people. I have to say that this is clearly one of his better tracks
SwagGordon: “I’m like a preacher who once was a fiend”….those types of metaphors are sick
SwagGordon: I concur
Satchford: The bass notes bring that different type of feel/bounce to the beat. Wasn’t expecting it but Common handled it well.
SwagGordon: yea I figured he would manage it well especially after the release of his last album
Satchford: As wonderful as the beat and the lyrics are, Makeba stole the show. Her voice is beautiful and that effect on it makes it even more raw.
Satchford: “This is my inception, I’m writing my dreams”
SwagGordon: lol

So Sweet

Satchford: The sample is ill. Str8 up. Those tones are eerie
SwagGordon: the drums just hit so hard
SwagGordon: Common getting so ugly on this track
SwagGordon: I wonder what convinced him to go so hard on this track
SwagGordon: “lil b$%#h” lmao
Satchford: The way he flows on this one reminds me of that Can I Borrow A Dollar Common. He went hard.
Satchford: “wha-da-da-dadada-dayyy” MEAN
SwagGordon: “in the D.O. wipe your feet off in the Regal”…..lmao
SwagGordon: he talking so much smack on this song
Satchford: For sure
SwagGordon: reminds me of when Kane was riding in the whip with O-Dog and A-Wax on the way to get those dudes who shot Harold
Satchford: Haha

Satchford: More inspiration. He finally made it; he got the pot of gold. “These are adventures of young black millionaires”
SwagGordon: this song is really laid back
Satchford: No ID continues to provide that bounce
SwagGordon: the opening lines to this song is how you supposed to start a song
Satchford: “Lyrical gymnast, you set the bar low…”
SwagGordon: in all honesty this song would get skipped on my pod
SwagGordon: too laid back for me
Satchford: I disagree. Perfect song to ride to. One of the standouts for me, definitely something to two step to also
SwagGordon: yea I could play it if I was doing something else but I wouldn’t intentionally play it
SwagGordon: it doesn’t push the album IMO
SwagGordon: the prior tracks just kept the energy alive
Satchford: I think it follows the theme well.
Satchford: A sign of where the album is heading perhaps
SwagGordon: yea there’s no doubt about that
SwagGordon: it could be a bonus track for me
Satchford: I feel that way about Sweet. I don’t see where it follows the theme. Although it’s a nice track, it’s more of a bonus.
SwagGordon: damn, I can’t deny that either
SwagGordon: now that I think about it
Satchford: Yea
Satchford: I like how they let the beat ride at the end. So much groove.
SwagGordon: decent at best

Lovin I Lost

SwagGordon: I remember I remember….so soulful!
Satchford: Could you think of a better sample and beat to spit about a failed relationship? No ID hit a homerun with this beat.
SwagGordon: you right!
SwagGordon: the substance of this song sound so personal
SwagGordon: “I know you young but you gotta live your life ma”…..Com sounds like J.Cole when he says that
Satchford: Pure honesty “I tried to take it day by day but woooh, its tough”
SwagGordon: he got that right
SwagGordon: now this is how you end a song right here!
SwagGordon: this song gets heavy rotations on my pod
Satchford: Same here. That’s always been a plus for Common; he puts all his feelings out there on his records
Satchford: Luckily, it’s relatable to most listeners
SwagGordon: “ah hell nah, I’m waiting on your call”…..goodness lol
SwagGordon: my head just has a constant bob right now
Satchford: Your favorite record on the album?
SwagGordon: not sure
SwagGordon: we’ll see
Satchford: so far?
SwagGordon: nah
Satchford: A strong one though, I like it a lot

Raw (How You Like It)

Satchford: This one will have to grow on me. It’s a smooth jam though. I like the voice on the lady in the chorus.
SwagGordon: this first verse is one of the stand out verses on the album….the lines are clever and the flow is brilliant “wanna put hands on her like a preacher….mmmhhmmm”
SwagGordon: “the dude next to us was extra mess, knocking over bar stools, I hoped he carpooled”….lmao
Satchford: I don’t agree. It’s a nice verse but not a standout. I’ve heard better
SwagGordon: we will have to agree to disagree then
Satchford: This would make for a nice video because of the descriptiveness in Comm’s verse. You can see what he’s saying literally.
SwagGordon: tryin to told ya
Satchford: Describes the whole night at the club to a tee
SwagGordon: perfect
Satchford: Who is that singing? She sound excellent
SwagGordon: not sure
Satchford: Overall, a good track
SwagGordon: I agree


Satchford: No ID comes strong with the production. The melody takes you on a journey.
SwagGordon: omg….this thang is too pure
SwagGordon: the chorus is strong and the lyrics in the verses are just as strong
Satchford: “I admit I had issues, like Ebony and Essence…”
SwagGordon: lol
Satchford: Agreed, and the la la la part was a good addition. It makes it flow so well with the melody
SwagGordon: no doubt
Satchford: Cloth, meaning 2 people cut from the same cloth. Their connected in a way. I like his angle here
SwagGordon: most certainly
SwagGordon: its several metaphors drawn thru the term Cloth
Satchford: “Its two things that seems to hold us together, God is our tailor and forever…”
Satchford: This is a standout for me. Some of the best lyrics and production I’ve heard thus far.
SwagGordon: the total composition is great so it is indeed an excellent song
Satchford: These singers on the choruses have been excellent so far. I guess they shall remain nameless.
SwagGordon: the only thing I dislike about this song is the intro
Satchford: That’s one of the key things I like especially how it builds then boom, the beat drops
SwagGordon: I would prefer to let the beat drop
SwagGordon: don’t intrude on my head bob
Satchford: Haha. Have you noticed how No ID has had an array of sounds and samples so far but has kept the drums and snares str8 hip hop? Turns out to be a good combination
SwagGordon: yea man that’s his new style
Satchford: Yea, I noticed.
Satchford: With doing a full album, you would think he would try other things but he has stuck to his strengths. I like that
SwagGordon: for sure

Satchford: Since this one has dropped, it has grown on me. Such a feel good track.
SwagGordon: yea man real easy to listen to
SwagGordon: a classic Kenny Loggins sample
Satchford: I really like how it’s upbeat but then it breaks down at points with the “celebrate” voice sample. It sound like you in church
SwagGordon: pretty much
Satchford: Not really feeling when the singer comes in at the end….kills the mood.
SwagGordon: yea in some aspects it does
Satchford: “Some bomb brauds coming, type Nuclear”
SwagGordon: someone could really vibe out to this thang during Christmas
SwagGordon: lmao
Satchford: Yea, for sure
Satchford: “My guys I use to hoop with is now who I ball with”
SwagGordon: tough huh
Satchford: Real sh*t
SwagGordon: you notice that drum pattern?
SwagGordon: got that 80’s feel to it
Satchford: Yea, it’s not bad. That’s a hard ass snare also
Satchford: Like Gold, this is a song of reflection. Celebrate how far you’ve come. I like the message.

Satchford: This has a nice chorus with a good singer. He really helps push the mood at the beginning
SwagGordon: the intro is overzealous
SwagGordon: not feeling it
SwagGordon: sounds like a throwaway Kanye track
SwagGordon: the guitar rift near the end of the song was different
Satchford: I disagree. It’s a deep track that has a nice message. It does sound like a track Kanye would do but Common drops nice verses. The mood is almost depressing though.
SwagGordon: too depressing for me
SwagGordon: would definitely get skipped on my pod
Satchford: Slim repeat value for me because of that but it’s still a nice track.
SwagGordon: decent

The Believer feat. John Legend

Satchford: “I walk where money talks and love stutters”
SwagGordon: witty line
SwagGordon: this song has kind of grown on me since it was released
Satchford: I love the feel and the tempo of this one. John Legend killed the chorus.
SwagGordon: it’s kind of choppy IMO
Satchford: “Hard to see blessings in a violent culture”
Satchford: Flows like tap water to me
Satchford: “Like a thief in the night, I write for beacons of light”
SwagGordon: full of knowledge
Satchford: I would have traded to have Nas on this one than Ghetto Dreams. Just my thoughts
SwagGordon: damn good idea
Satchford: In your words, this is some “world music”
SwagGordon: HA!
Satchford: That’s the feel I get. That we are the world feeling… hear those soothing voices in the back?
SwagGordon: lol
SwagGordon: well I can’t say that I get the same but it’s a good song
Satchford: Figured that. Yea, it’s a good one. Heavy repeat for me. Standout verses from Comm

Pop’s Belief
SwagGordon: I like the mood of this track
Satchford: I always enjoy the outros on Common’s albums. If you take the time to listen to his Pops, he always drops some type of knowledge. I can’t complain.
SwagGordon: me neither, just spreading the knowledge
Satchford: Nice melody in the background. Awkward sound but it’s cool.
SwagGordon: I have no problem with the sounds in the background
SwagGordon: somebody just letting it out in there
Satchford: Me neither, it’s a unique sound.
Satchford: No song here likes other albums, just his Pops speaking

SwagGordon: It’s refreshing to have an artist that you have listened to for a long time to release a piece of work that is just as strong as his art from day 1. He delivers what the fans want to hear while maintaining his integrity and staying true to the concept of the album. There’s no lack of lyricism on productions that carry so much energy. Substance is key when listening to Common’s The Dreamer, The Believer. There were only a couple of tracks that didn’t stick with me mainly because of the low energy level. Common and No ID make a perfect team and the work presented from this project supports that claim fully. I would have to recommend this for purchase on Dec 20 and an instant sync to your pod.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Top 3 Fav Songs: Blue Sky, Lovin I Lost, Cloth

Satchford: Overall, this is a real solid effort from Common and No ID. The production was banging and consistent. Standout beats like The Dreamer, Blue Sky and Cloth really showed that No ID is one of the better producers out today. Common also did the same doing some good songs with nice messages. I felt the concept of the album fell off here and there with a couple songs (Raw, Sweet) but overall the album flowed well. I think Common fans will be satisfied with this album as the majority of the songs are good. It will probably get even better with time. This one is worth the cash and the pod sync.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Top 3 Fav Songs: The Dreamer, Blue Sky, Cloth

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