New Sensation: SA’s Austin Mahone and teen pop superstardom

New Sensation: SA’s Austin Mahone and teen pop superstardom

Music: Like the bulk of Austin Mahone’s Instagram account, this one’s a selfie. In a white tank top, hair coifed up real big, Mahone arranges his facial... By Matt Stieb 7/22/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Brunch

Best Brunch

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Best Thai Food

Best Thai Food

Best of SA 2012: Tucked off Blanco Road in a bland shopping strip lies a tasty secret that has been keeping SA foodies smiling for over a decade. Once you pass through the rough exterior, you'll... 4/25/2012
Best Food Truck

Best Food Truck

Best of SA 2012: We love food trucks. But, honestly, there are days when the restaurant-on-wheels trend feels completely out of hand. Frequently operators wheeling out new mobile eateries... 4/25/2012

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Aural Pleasure Review

Common: The Dreamer, The Believer

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Common has always walked a tightrope. His "I Used to Love H.E.R." is a love song (a rap rarity in '94) that charted his love's spiritual and moral decline (his betrothed being the genre, not a woman). Naturally, it can be difficult to accept Common on The Dreamer, The Believer's "Ghetto Dreams," wherein he calls for a hot "bitch" that cooks pancakes buck-ass naked. If there's commentary on offer, the wink isn't pronounced and the effect is discomfort as the track follows a Maya Angelou poem on daring to dream. But this isn't as wacky as 2008's bullheaded, Neptunes-driven Universal Mind Control, where "Ghetto Dreams" is "Brown Eyed Girl" by comparison. Here, Common is reunited with producer No I.D. (last seen on 1997's One Day It'll All Make Sense) and spittin' more inspiration than degradation. No I.D. is a soul wizard, making Dreamer hearken to early '90s Common without appropriating the jazz-rap sound of the time. Both hit paydirt engaging feel-good tropes on "Cloth" (love lost) and "Celebrate" (party rap). Densely packed closer "Pops Belief" is a poem on the title themes. While moving, the landing doesn't quite stick. Dreamer suffers from being about too much and not enough simultaneously.

★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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