These days, the word “classic” is thrown around as loosely as a Nerf ball at a picnic. However, we at TRU consider classics to be something which stand the test of time and have a resounding influence on their respective fields. But how do albums considered classics sound to the ears of TRU’s young blood? Aaron J. McKrell was born in 1990 and we’ve convinced him to turn his scope on a classic from the rich history of hip-hop to view it through a contemporary lens in a weekly series we call…
Shame on you, old heads. That’s right, I said it. Shame on you! In all the talk about Illmatic, all the buzz about Ready to Die, no one mentioned Common’s Resurrection in its rightful place among the pantheon of hip hop’s elite albums.
And yes, it deserves to be there. Resurrection, Common’s sophomore album, showcases the emcee at his best, spitting killer rhymes at a dizzying pace over cool, laid back production courtesy of No I.D. Common’s style feels like a mix between Rakim and The Notorious B.I.G., the way he piles multi-syllabic rhymes on top of one another in a single sixteen:
I stagger in the gathering possessed by a patter-in
That be scattering
Over the global my vocals be traveling
Unraveling my abdomen it’s slime that’s babbling
Grammatics that are masculine
I grab the men, verbally badgering broads
If your head is not spinning, you may not be human. Common does more than just rhyme for the sake of rhyming. The wizard of wordplay-as I’m dubbing him- kicks raps through metaphor, simile and most notably allegory, the latter happening on “I Used to Love H.E.R.” The song is a cool history lesson through hip-hop, with Common kicking knowledge as the young, student-friendly history teacher. Of course, it’s also a lament for days lost, and a beautiful one at that.
No I.D. is the main man on the boards, producing 13 of the 15 tracks on the album (Ynot produced the other two). The drums always knock, the jazz riffs are always smooth, and the piano keys are rainy-day cool. Check the smooth, almost after-hours feel of “Nuthin’ to Do”:
As a whole, Resurrection is Common in his essence; nostalgic (“Nuthin’ to Do”), spiritual (“Book of Life”), authentically hip-hop (“Watermelon”), and proudly himself (“Thisisme”). Even when he gets his hands a little dirty, he maintains a sense of purity. “So give me a six pack and a half of Harold’s Chicken/When I get bubbly, I do it in moderation,” he rhymes on “Chapter 13 (Rich Man Vs. Poor Man)”.
This album isn’t completely flawless. Sometimes Common gets lost in his own rhymes so much that it temporarily throws off the rhyme scheme, and the interlude “Another Wasted Nite With…” is a waste of a track. However, those imperfections hardly matter. This album is soulful and, in an era when everyone was posing “gangsta,” spilling with truth track after track. By the time Common’s Pops rolled around at the end to kick knowledge, I felt enriched and uplifted. And spiritual enrichment never gets old.
“Do you believe in the peace?”
Classics Revisited: Scarface – The Diary
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Classics Revisited: A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
Classics Revisited: Gang Starr – Daily Operation
Classics Revisited: Main Source – Breaking Atoms
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Classics Revisited: Geto Boys – We Can’t Be Stopped
Classics Revisited: Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth – Funky Technician
Classics Revisited: Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted
Classics Revisited: De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
Classics Revisited: Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
Classics Revisited: Slick Rick – The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick
Classics Revisited: Big Daddy Kane – Long Live The Kane
Classics Revisited: Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Classics Revisited: NWA – Straight Outta Compton
Classics Revisited: Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full