By Simon Vozick-Levinson
February 29, 2008 at 07:00 PM EST

Why would Common decide to remake an old single of his, eight years after the fact? Well, it helps that Smirnoff Vodka was footing the bill — but more importantly, why not? I’ll always welcome new(ish) music from Com, and he recruited some ace talent for “The Light 2008,” which hit the Web earlier this week. Add his brand-new verses to a beat from producer Just Blaze, a hook from singer Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry, and (presumably) a drop or two of Smirnoff, and here’s what you get:

I should note that it’s mathematically impossible for any sequel to top the original “The Light” — a beautiful collaboration with the late, great beatsmith J Dilla, and deservedly one of Common’s most popular songs. That said, this new one fares pretty well. Just Blaze comes through with yet another ridiculously lush slice of sampled soul, in a similar vein to the Kanye West productions Common’s put to great use on his last two albums. And Com continues to wear the smitten-dude role well: “The cadence of destiny/Patience and ecstasy/We could be fresh on the cover of Ebony.” (My only real complaint is that he didn’t rush to get this lovestruck ode out by Valentine’s Day, you know?) I’m hoping the new album he’s working on for this fall is more of a bold step forward than a fond look back — but this is definitely one retread I’m happy to hear. Aren’t you?

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