The Dreamer

Album: The Dreamer The Believer (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • Common opens his ninth studio album, The Dreamer The Believer, with this track in which he breaks down his dreams over a No I.D. beat. "Maybe I'm a hopeless hip-hop romantic," he muses.
  • The song features a guest verse from poet and author Maya Angelou for which she penned an original poem. "It's incredible!" Common told The Boombox. "I met Maya Angelou, it was a benefit I was doing for this foundation, it was this poet that was supposed to do it and he didn't do it, so my mother told somebody who worked on my team 'Why don't we see if we can get in touch with Maya Angelou,' and then out of nowhere she [Maya] was like, 'OK, I'll do it.' So she did it and we've been cool ever since."
  • Songwriters have used Maya Angelou's material as a source on several occasions. For instance the beginning of Tanita Tikaram's UK hit "Twist In My Sobriety," "All God's children need traveling shoes," is the title of Angelou's fifth and last book of her autobiography series. Also Canadian singer-songwriter Amy Sky's 2000 single "Phenomenal," which was later covered by Olivia Newton-John, was based on an Angelou poem.
  • Angelou admitted to the New York Post that she regretted collaborating with Common after hearing the final track. "I had no idea that Common was using the piece we had done together on (a track) in which he also used the 'N' word numerous times... I'm surprised and disappointed," she said. "I don't know why he chose to do that. I had never heard him use that (word) before. I admired him so much because he wasn't singing the line of least resistance. The renowned poet later called in to BET's 106 & Park to speak with Common and clear up their disagreement.

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