When Windy City hip-hop titans Kanye West and Common teamed up in 2005 for the latter's breakthrough album, Be, the much-hyped results were tight, tasteful, but dull. Maybe it's the low-key nature of the mixtape, or maybe it just took a Clevelander to sort things out, but Terry Urban's Chi-City Classics brings some much-needed looseness and fun to another Ye/Common pairing.
Hosted with élan by Chicago's latest hip-hop export, Lupe Fiasco, the disc gathers some like-minded acts and features a quintet of exclusive Urbanized mixes that jazz up the warm sound of Be. The most notable reworking is "Kick in the Door, Pt. 2," which sets Kanye to some old Biggie verses and serves as a taster of sorts for Unbelievable, Urban's new B.I.G. mixtape with Mick Boogie. The live tracks are short of revelatory, but overall, this is a package that might make Chi-City your kinda town, too.