Okay, this is a fantastic hip-hop album. But that's what it is - a hip-hop album. While Amazon, as well as others, have characterized Electric Circus as some sort of genre-bending novelty, it is not. It is what hip-hop should be.
It's original, yes. It's got some guitar chords thrown in there and it gets a little spacey at times (not in a boring way), but at its core it is a hip-hop album. Thumping beats, Common's impeccable rhymes and, like I said, the fact that it doesn't sound like everything else out there earn it an easy five stars.
Along with The Roots' Phrenology, Hi-Tek's Hiteknology, Talib Kweli's High Quality and Slum Village's Trinity albums (guess there's an odd theme of albums ending in "y"), this ranks in the top five hip-hop albums of 2002. I just bought it a couple of days ago, so right now I'd put it number one, but I get euphoric about these things.