Because of the dearth of quality hip-hop over the last year or so, I think a lot of people have been getting a little too hyped about Be.
It's not a bad album, it's merely below the standards we have come to expect from Common Sense & Kanye West. I'm not going to talk about the Dilla cuts, because I think those two songs are the most intriguing tracks on the album. I think Common fell a little too much into the "intelligent, older MC" trap, and was content to churn out verses about the streets, injustice and love. Where's that extra step he took for Resurrection and LWFC? Even though I didn't like Electric Circus, he went out in a different direction, and I can respect that. He started to get a little cliche on Be. He's a good enough rapper that he can pull it off without being corny, but I don't think he's doing anything new here.
Now, Kanye has garnered a TON of deserved hype over the past couple of years. He's put out original beats and done some great songs. On Be, though, he's not really doing anything new or interesting. He got lazy with the samples - if you gave me the same breaks he used, I could come up with beats just as good as his. All he's been doing is throwing the same generic drums we've heard hundreds of times behind those samples. With the exception of Be and Testify (on the strength of its sample alone), he's not doing anything remotely interesting or innovating.
I don't think Be is a bad album at all. I'd probably give it an 8.3 out of 10. But can we please stop pretending its classic when it will probably have no tangible impact on hip-hop, and sure as hell won't be in my stereo three months from now.