The Common effect

It was October 7 – a Sunday afternoon in Times Square – and the smell of music was in the air. Hip Hop was alive and in full effect. A line of anxious fans formed at the doors of Nokia Theater on W 44th Street and increased by the minutes. There were two names that were responsible for this huge assemblage of music loving people: Q-Tip and Common.

Nokia Theater, mainly a standing arena, was packed. The headliner opening act, Q-Tip, known from his association with A Tribe Called Quest, took the crowd down memory lane, mainly performing the jazz and hip hop numbers of ATCQ like “Electric Relaxation,” “Can I Kick It,” Bonita Applebum,” and “Buggin’ Out.” The familiarity with his solo single “Vivrant Thing” and the new single “Work It Out” had the crowd with their hands in the air and their bodies moving. There was not a dull moment in his performance. Energetic and vivacious, Q-Tip kept the crowd captured.

He was personal with his audience, randomly picking someone to join him on stage for one of his hits. As he gave a bow to signal the end of his act and as the curtain began to close, the cheering audience was eagerly waiting for what was next.

The drums began, then the sounds of the keyboard. The curtain opened and there stood a lonely microphone stand and screaming fans. Common ran onstage and began his set “Finding Forever.” The crowd rushed up towards the stage to get closer.

Heads were bouncing back and forth, hands in the air, peace signs were up and the Common effect was unifying. After wrapping up his first performance, he welcomed everyone to his show. The reoccurring theme of encouragement was freedom of life, as he performed hits like “Be,” “The Light,” “Testify,” “The People,” “Love Is,” “Misunderstood” and “Drivin` me Wild.”

Common’s performances became personal as he stopped and peacefully spoke to his audience about life issues and life blessings. Peace signs and raised fists were symbols of the night and a deep, soulful voice recording entertained the audience in-between costume changes and quick breaks.

From start to finish, Common was exhilarating. With the success of a number one album, it was no surprise. The Common effect in hip hop is forever.