Resurrection (Common album)

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Resurrection
Studio album by Common Sense
Released October 25, 1994
Recorded 1993-94
Genre Chicago hip hop, jazz rap, alternative hip hop
Length 54:23
Label Relativity
Producer No I.D., Ynot
Common Sense chronology
Can I Borrow a Dollar?
(1992)
Resurrection
(1994)
One Day It'll All Make Sense
(1997)
Singles from Resurrection
  1. "I Used to Love H.E.R."
    Released: September 27, 1994
  2. "Resurrection"
    Released: December 6, 1994

Resurrection is the second album by American rapper Common (then known as Common Sense). Released in 1994, the album received critical acclaim, but not a significant amount of mainstream attention. Resurrection was entirely produced by No I.D. (who also produced the bulk of Can I Borrow A Dollar?), and Ynot. The record was originally rated 3.5 mics in The Source in 1994.[1] In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums .[2]

Songs[edit]

The album is divided into two sections; the "East Side of Stony" (tracks 1-7) and "West Side of Stony" (tracks 8-15). Stony Island Avenue is a street that runs through the South Side of Chicago, where Common was raised. The closing track, "Pop's Rap" was the first of a series of tracks featuring spoken word and poetry by Common's father, Lonnie "Pops" Lynn, which Common has used to close several of his albums since. Interlaced throughout the album are short interludes which form a loose narrative concerning day-to-day life on the South Side.

Songs such as "Thisisme", are full of self-assessing raps that reflect the rapper's personal growth since 1992's Can I Borrow A Dollar?. Likewise the crasser moments found on that LP, such as a the misogynistic "Heidi Hoe" are greatly toned down for Resurrection, and replaced by thought-provoking narratives such as "Chapter 13 (Rich Man Vs. Poor Man)", and "I Used to Love H.E.R." - a song that re-imagines Hip hop as a formerly unadulterated woman, led astray after being enticed by materialistic elements of life. The use of a conflicted woman as an allegory for Hip hop allowed Common to covertly express his disdain at the genre's turn towards gangsta rap inspired content, and what he saw as the resulting reorientation of rap artists.

This song, which brought Common to the attention of fans and music critics alike, would also become the cause of a rift between the rapper and West Coast emcee Ice Cube, who took exception to the insinuation that the West Coast pioneered style of gangsta rap was detrimental to Hip hop - even going as far as to claim that Hip hop altogether "started in the West"[citation needed]. Together with his Westside Connection compatriots, Cube hurled insults Common's way on the song "Westside Slaughterhouse" and throughout their album Bow Down, to which the rapper replied with the equally venomous "The Bitch in Yoo". In the aftermath of the murders of both Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., the rivalry would be settled out of public view at a peacemaking function held by Louis Farrakhan at his home.

The album is broken down track-by-track by Common in Brian Coleman's book Check the Technique.[3]

Lyricism[edit]

The lyricism of Resurrection is acclaimed. Using a combination of irony and double entendre, the rapper related on "Book of Life":

They say become a doctor, but I don't have the patience
Adjacent to that situation
I want an occupation that I'm into
'Cause yet if I begin to
Live to my potential
I went to school for fourteen years and my best teacher was experience

In The Source, Chairman Mao wrote that "Common Sense presents a thinking man's perspective on rhyming that's admirably down to earth and free of gimmicks".[1] Common's style of delivery, speedy and somewhat erratic on Can I Borrow, is here smoother and more evenly paced. As before he occasionally ventures into a faux-singing mode, albeit less frequently (for example, he quotes the refrain of "Get Up, Stand Up" in "Book of Life"). Many of the songs hooks are provided by scratches and samples.

Production[edit]

For Resurrection, producer No I.D. polished up on the production techniques from Can I Borrow, providing for Common, a canvas full of lush jazz samples, deep, throbbing basslines, dusty, thumping drums, and crackling snares. With the majority of tracks handled by one producer (the exceptions being "Chapter 13" and "Sum Shit I Wrote" by Ynot), the album maintains a cohesive feel and fluid sequencing. Fans of No I.D. often cite this album as his best work.

The sounds range from the upbeat ("Communism") to the downbeat (""Nuthin' To Do""), and from the smooth and sleek ("I Used to Love H.E.R."), to the rugged ("Sum Shit I Wrote"). Similar to other Hip hop productions of the time, the sources for many of the samples are from less obvious choices such as The New Apocalypse, and their cover of "Get Out Of My Life, Woman", which is used for the song "Watermelon".

Reception and aftermath[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[5]
MusicHound 4.5/5 stars[6]
RapReviews (9.5/10)[7]
Record Collector 3/5 stars[8]
Rhapsody (favorable)[9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[10]
The Source 3.5/5 stars[11]
Vibe (favorable)[12]
Virgin Encyclopedia 4/5 stars[6]

Resurrection is frequently held to be a classic album by rap critics. This album signified both the arrival of a level of maturity in Common's work, and yet the end of his first phase, which was characterized by a more straightforward, and underground based sound. Subsequent albums by the rapper would see him delving into experimentation and themes such as love, which perhaps marks his second phase.[citation needed]

In the Rolling Stone review, Touré wrote of the album: "Resurrection belongs among the best recent hardcore albums: Illmatic, by Nas, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), by Wu-Tang Clan, and Ready to Die, by the Notorious B.I.G.."[10] Despite the acclaim, the album sold poorly, barely charting inside of the Billboard 200. The album sold 2,000 copies and was dropped from the billboard charts.

Track listing[edit]

On vinyl releases, the first seven tracks are considered to be on the 'East Side of Stony' side of the album, while the next eight tracks are on the 'West Side of Stony' side.

# Title Length Performer(s) Producer(s) Samples
1 "Resurrection" 3:47 Common No I.D.
  • Contains sample from "The Signs Pt. II" as performed by David Axelrod
  • Contains sample from "Why Can't People Be Colors Too?" as performed by The Whatnauts
  • Contains sample from "Help Is on the Way" as performed by The Whatnauts
  • Contains sample from "Dolphin Dance" as performed by Ahmad Jamal
  • Contains sample from "Sorcerer of Isis" as performed by Power of Zeus
  • Contains sample from "Ice" as performed by Spirit
  • Contains sample from "No Delayin" as performed by Nice & Smooth
2 "I Used to Love H.E.R." 4:39 Common No I.D.
  • Contains sample from "The Changing World" as performed by George Benson
3 "Watermelon" 2:39 Common No I.D.
  • Contains sample from "Watermelon Man" as performed by Johnnie Taylor
  • Contains sample from "Sweet Inspiration" as performed by King Curtis
  • Contains sample from "Get Out of My Life, Woman" as performed by The New Apocalypse
  • Contains sample from "Just Rhymin' Wit Biz" as performed by Big Daddy Kane
  • Contains sample from "Just to Get A Rep" as performed by Gang Starr
4 "Book of Life" 5:06 Common No I.D.
5 "In My Own World (Check the Method)" 3:32 Common & No I.D. No I.D.
6 "Another Wasted Nite With..." 1:02 Common
7 "Nuthin' to Do" 5:20 Common No I.D.
8 "Communism" 2:16 Common No I.D.
  • Contains sample from "The Surest Things Can Change" as performed by Freddie Hubbard
9 "WMOE" 0:34 Common & Mohammed Ali No I.D.
  • Contains sample from "Capricorn" as performed by Cannonball Adderley
  • Contains sample from "Las Vegas Tango" as performed by Gary Burton
10 "Thisisme" 4:54 Common No I.D.
  • Contains sample from "Power of Love" as performed by Alton McClain & Destiny
  • Contains sample from "Momma Miss America" as performed by Wings
  • Contains sample from "Build and Destroy" as performed by KRS-One
11 "Orange Pineapple Juice" 3:28 Common No I.D.
12 "Chapter 13 (Rich Man Vs. Poor Man)" 5:23 Common & Ynot Ynot
13 "Maintaining" 3:49 Common No I.D.
14 "Sum Shit I Wrote" 4:31 Common Ynot
  • Contains sample from "We Write the Songs" as performed by Heavy D, Biz Markie and Marley Marl
15 "Pop's Rap" 3:22 Lonnie "Pops" Lynn No I.D.
  • Contains sample from "Momma Miss America" as performed by Wings

Chart positions[edit]

Album chart positions[edit]

Year Album Chart positions
Billboard 200
1994 Resurrection #179

Singles chart positions[edit]

Year Song Chart positions
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks Hot Rap Singles Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales
1994 "I Used to Love H.E.R." 91 31 34
1995 "Resurrection" 88 22 13

Name[edit]

  • The album was originally released under Common's original stage name, "Common Sense." However, the "Sense" has since been dropped from the album's listings because of a legal case between Common and a ska band named Common Sense.[13]
  • The song "Thisisme" is used as the name for Common's greatest hits compilation, Thisisme Then: The Best of Common.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chairman Mao (October 1994) Original Album Review. The Source.
  2. ^ ~~~~ www.rocklist.net ~~~~
  3. ^ Coleman, Brian. Check The Technique: Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies. New York: Villard/Random House, 2007.
  4. ^ Henderson, Alex (1994-10-25). "Resurrection - Common". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  5. ^ "CG: Common Sense". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  6. ^ a b "Resurrection". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  7. ^ Simelane, Vukile (2002-07-20). "Common Sense :: Resurrection :: Relativity Records". RapReviews. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  8. ^ "Common - Resurrection CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  9. ^ Chennault, Sam. "Music: Resurrection by Common". Rhapsody. Archived from the original on 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2013-01-19. 
  10. ^ a b By Toure (1995-02-09). "Resurrection | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  11. ^ "Classic Review : Resurrection in The Source (1994) « Press Rewind If I Haven't…". Ifihavent.wordpress.com. 2007-07-02. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  12. ^ Vibe - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  13. ^ "Common Video, Pictures, Biography". AskMen. 1972-03-13. Retrieved 2012-03-07.