October 04, 2021

Common "Resurrection" (October 4, 1994)

In Hip Hop geography, Resurrection, definitely belongs to Chicago. No played out West Coast funk or droning keyboards. No candidates for the next Rump Shaker/Tootsie Roll content theme song.... On first listen it might sound like an East Coast record, but in production and lyrical flow, Common sense fits solidly in the Chicago soul tradition of Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions, Leroy Hutson, and the Chi-Lites. Most of the production was done by the Un-American Caravan's No I.D., who also worked on Common's first album. The music has the feel of an early 70's Curtin Mayfield or Donny Hathaway record. The samples are fresh with catchy piano, keyboard or sax loops up top and strong, looping, basslines underneath to keep the music moving forward. Hip Hop production has moved away from the frantic sound of P.E. and a thousand and one James Brown breakbeats to less hyped samples and live music. But unlike too many of the new Hip-Hop producers, No I.D., maintains the level of energy in the grooves and doesn't let the sound lapse into quiet storm territory. Cont'd

The album is a view of life in urban America today in the same way Curtis Mayfield or Donny Hathaway's songs were a view of the same place in the 60's and 70's. Like many of their songs, Common Sense's rhymes are about daily life, growing up, and even family. Not as just another victim, but as someone with a strong sense of himself. The rhymes are always political, and possibly more powerful for being less direct.... But not everything is serious. There's plenty of more freestyle rhymes, heavy on metaphors.... A lot of MC's start out dope and then lose direction or run out of ideas. But since the first time I saw Common perform at the New Music Seminar in 1989 with a group called "1212" every move has been in the right direction. He's learned a lot since the first album.... The ads for Resurrection say "No gimmicks, no guns, no b*tches, no bullsh*t, just Common Sense." It says a lot about Hip Hop today that [that] description would set the album apart from most other music out there. Just about everyone who cares about Hip Hop and has paid attention for more than a few years knows that something's been lost. On the first single, "I Used to Love H.E.R.," "H.E.R." is Hip Hop and Common Sense expresses better than anybody how much the music meant, and the sense of loss as rap has moved from an art to a commodity.... Common Sense's reality is more than enough entertainment for people into lyrics and beats everywhere and anyone else willing to put down their video gats for long enough to listen. - Caught In The Middle (ZINE, 1994).