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I am looking for Common Sense, who is now known to the masses as Common.
Why am I looking for him? I am looking for him, because the Chicago native penned a classic record called I Used To Love H.E.R.
For those that are completely out of step with rap musics history, "I Used to Love H.E.R." is a song where Common metaphorically crafted Hip-Hop as an innocent girl that went on to be a promiscuous harlot. But, on a deeper level, she represents Hip-Hops shift away from the conscious and pure to gangsta rap.
The song hit in 1994 album on the seminal album, Resurrection.
I Used To Love H.E.R song is timeless, clever and has been copied more times that I can recall. But I cannot help but think this dude is was going insane at the time. How did he want to resurrect Hip-Hop in the year 1994? For those that question the mental state of Common Sense as I do, take a look at the albums that dropped in 94.1992
Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
Redman - Dare Iz a Darkside
Organized Konfusion - Stress: The Extinction Agenda
OutKast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
The Roots - Do You Want More?!!!??!
Gang Starr - Hard to Earn
Scarface - The Diary
Jeru the Damaja - The Sun Rises in the East
Scarface - The Diary
Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
Gravediggaz - 6 Feet Deep
Just for the hell of it, say Common Sense was looking at 1992 and 1993 as the basis of his dissertation on H.E.R.
Dr. Dre - The Chronic
UGK - Too Hard to Swallow
Showbiz and AG - Runaway Slave
Pete Rock & CL Smooth - Mecca & the Soul Brother
Diamond D - Stunts, Blunts, & Hip-Hop
Redman - Whut? Thee Album
Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
Brand Nubian - In God We Trust
Gang Starr - Daily Operation
Masta Ace - Slaughtahouse
KRS-One - Return of the Boom Bap
De La Soul - Buhloone Mindstate
Souls of Mischief - 93 'til Infinity
Black Moon - Enta Da Stage
Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle
A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
Wu-Tang Clan - 36 Chambers
I apologize if I threw you off with the slew of albums, but I have to frame this out properly. Hip-Hop had a good year in 1995 as well (Raekwon, The Pharcyde, Mobb Deep, GZA, 2Pac and Bone Thugs all dropped classics).
I am going on record and blame Common Sense for planting the seed for this Hip-Hop is Dead movement. At that time, it wasnt DEAD it was as alive as it had ever been! Some even regard that period as a part of the Golden Era of Hip-Hop, an honor normally bestowed to the late 80s. Now, if you lived during the 90s you know, the market was definitely flooded with Gangsta Rap (quite a bit of trash too), but there was such a wealth of creative material sprouting up. Common was in his own world.
Fast forward to the present day. Both Killer Mike and Nas proclaimed Hip-Hop dead and Common was resurrecting the same thing a decade before.
Or did it start dying when Common Sense spoke it?
The point leads me to the music in 2009 these Hip-Hop is seeing its most vibrant resurgence in a few years. The mainstream is all covered with Nas, Eminem, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent coming out. Were seeing people like Joe Budden, Crooked I, Chino XL, Redman and others represent for the lover of lyrics. And the underground is looking sweet too. If you are into cats that do the stinky leg or ringtone rap, there is plenty of that out there. These hipsters like Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco and their offspring have the weirdo market on lock!
Meanwhile Commons last CD was a dud. I dont mean Common is a dud though. Hes one of the most enduring Hip-Hop artists of his time and I can argue that he's a Top 10 dead or alive rap artist.
I just want to ask him, What were you thinking when you stopped loving Hip-Hop in 1994?
I guess, one day it will all make sense.
Until then, enjoy I Used To Love H.E.R.