Back in the day, rapper Common went by the name Common Sense. That should give you an idea about how seriously he took himself. He dropped the second half of his moniker after two albums and began lightening up a little. His records from the early part of this decade — Like Water for Chocolate and Electric Circus, especially — are filled with smart, heady hip-hop (even though there is a tiny homophobic and misogynistic streak running through his work). These days, Common has little, um, in common, with his old self. On last year’s Universal Mind Control, he came out like a sex-starved party animal, looking for poony on the dancefloor and a willing woman in the bedroom. The electro gurgles that surge throughout the record also reflect his new mindset; gone are the super-thick bass tracks and live instruments that used to propel the old-school grooves. Not sure where Common will be heading next, but a return swing into natural-sounding hip-hop territory would be nice. We certainly don’t need another shirtless lover boy crowding the clubs. Common plays House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583) at 8 p.m. Tickets: $34.50 advance, $38 day of show. — Michael Gallucci
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