This is my favorite new hip-hop record that's out and circulating the globe right now. Why? Because I miss that "Golden Era" sound that hip hop use to provide us listener's with. I call this style of hip-hop "The Real". The real meaning that the content of the record feels honest and the beat and lyrics are more about the art form as opposed to commerce.
Now I'm not knocking anybody getting paper and making hip-hop/pop records in our contemporary times. I understand that when you're in the music business and you're an artist signed to a label...you have to make and have hits to sustain or you will be dropped quicker than a New York minute. Therefore as an artist some have to conform to what the label thinks will make them their money back . This is called recouping. Think of a music label as a bank giving you a loan for your home. You gotta' pay on that loan (mortgage) or you run the risk of losing your house. Artists run the risk of losing their record deals if they don't have charts success.
Unfortunately, most of these bankers (excuse me "music executives") could give two shits about an artist being creatively unique and organic. It's more about competing and following the current formula that's winning on the top 200 Billboard charts.
If you're an emcee like Common and Nas who have already established themselves and have a loyal fan base, making a record like Ghetto Dreams will not hurt you in the least bit. Common and Nas have an audience that salivates over them making these type of street records. They will pack a venue with this type of shit. No doubt about it.
Now if Common and Nas were new(er) artists or semi-established (think J. Cole) this record would probably be limited to the blogs and the underground heads who respect and know their hip-hop history and culture. The game (the music biz) is funny like that. You almost have to choose sides. I won't get into choosing sides but believe me...a side must be chosen at some point if you're an artist who wants to elevate your career and take things to a higher plateau.
For now, just enjoy your "Ghetto Dreams".