Resurrection (Common album)

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Common - Resurrection.png
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 4, 1994
Common Sense chronology
Can I Borrow a Dollar?
One Day It'll All Make Sense
Singles from Resurrection
  1. "I Used to Love H.E.R."
    Released: September 27, 1994
  2. "Resurrection"
    Released: April 4, 1995

Resurrection is the second studio album by American rapper Common, then known as Common Sense, which was released on October 4, 1994, by Relativity Records. It was mainly produced by No I.D., who also produced most of Common's 1992 debut Can I Borrow A Dollar? It is the last album to feature the rapper's full stage name, as after this album the "Sense" portion of the name was dropped, making the rapper simply known to this day as "Common".

The album received critical acclaim but not a significant amount of mainstream attention. Originally, it was rated 3.5 mics in The Source;[2] however, in 1998, it was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Hip Hop Albums.[3]


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 Sr., whom Common has used to close several of his albums since. Interlaced throughout the album are short interludes that form a loose narrative concerning day-to-day life on the South Side.

Songs such as "Thisisme", are full of self-assessing rhymes that reflect the emcee's personal growth since 1992's Can I Borrow A Dollar? Likewise the crasser moments found on that LP, such as 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 toward gangsta-inspired content and what he saw as the resulting reorientation of hip hop 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 gangsta style 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 the group's 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.[4]


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".[2] 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.


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.

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
Chicago Tribune[6]
Christgau's Consumer Guide(2-star Honorable Mention)(2-star Honorable Mention)[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[8]
Record Collector[10]
Rolling Stone[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[12]
The Source3.5/5[13]

Resurrection is frequently held to be a classic album by hip hop-music 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 emcee would see him delving into experimentation and themes such as love, which perhaps marked 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."[11] Despite critical acclaim, the album sold poorly, peaking at #179 on the Billboard 200 with 2,000 copies sold before dropping out of the charts the following week.

Track listing[edit]

  • All tracks produced by No I.D., except tracks 12 and 14 produced by Ynot.
# Title Length Performer(s)
1 "Resurrection" 3:47 Common
2 "I Used to Love H.E.R." 4:39 Common
3 "Watermelon" 2:39 Common
4 "Book of Life" 5:06 Common
5 "In My Own World (Check the Method)" 3:32 Common & No I.D.
6 "Another Wasted Nite With..." 1:02 Common
7 "Nuthin' to Do" 5:20 Common
8 "Communism" 2:16 Common
9 "WMOE" 0:34 Common & Mohammed Ali
10 "Thisisme" 4:54 Common
11 "Orange Pineapple Juice" 3:28 Common
12 "Chapter 13 (Rich Man Vs. Poor Man)" 5:23 Common & The Twilite Tone
13 "Maintaining" 3:49 Common
14 "Sum Shit I Wrote" 4:31 Common
15 "Pop's Rap" 3:22 Lonnie "Pops" Lynn

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


  • 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 California-based ska band named Common Sense.[14]
  • The song "Thisisme" is used as the name for Common's greatest hits compilation, Thisisme Then: The Best of Common.


  1. ^ Insanul Ahmed, Andrew Barber, Keenan Higgins (2011-10-29). "The Making of Common's "Resurrection"". Complex. Retrieved 2019-10-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b Chairman Mao (October 1994) Original Album Review. The Source.
  3. ^ ~~~~ ~~~~
  4. ^ Coleman, Brian. Check The Technique: Liner Notes For Hip-Hop Junkies. New York: Villard/Random House, 2007.
  5. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Resurrection – Common". AllMusic. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (October 14, 1994). "Cleaning Out The Closets". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Common Sense: Resurrection". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Common". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  9. ^ Simelane, Vukile (July 20, 2002). "Common Sense :: Resurrection :: Relativity Records". RapReviews. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  10. ^ Draper, Jason (December 2010). "Common – Resurrection". Record Collector. No. 382. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Touré (February 9, 1995). "Resurrection". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  12. ^ McLeod, Kembrew (2004). "Common". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 187. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ Mao, Chairman (October 1994). "Common Sense: Resurrection". The Source. No. 61. p. 79. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  14. ^ "Common Video, Pictures, Biography". AskMen. 1972-03-13. Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. Retrieved 2012-03-07.