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With the release of his eighth studio album, Universal Mind Control, in December, Common has once again provided fans with some most excellent hip-hop lulz. Just as his baffling 2002 project Electric Circus quickly became a punchline for every joke about bad experimental hip-hop, Universal Mind Control is already being held up as a sad example of what happens when a grown-up MC tries to emulate the kids. Electric Circus’ wackiness was blamed on the influence of both Common’s then girlfriend, Erykah Badu, and a vegan diet. Following that logic, the dual distractions of Serena Williams and a film career seem to have informed this awkwardly oversexed new album. But Common’s live show is sure to focus more on choice material from more steady albums like Be and Resurrection; with any luck we’ll forget about his latest flop and go back to making fun of his Gap ads.
COMMON PERFORMS AT 7 P.M. AT THE 9:30 CLUB, 815 V ST. NW. $35. (202) 265-0930.