I Used To Love H.E.R. Verse One: I met this girl, when I was ten years old And what I loved most she had so much soul She was old school, when I was just a shorty Never knew throughout my life she would be there for me ont he regular, not a church girl she was secular Not about the money, no studs was mic checkin her But I respected her, she hit me in the heart A few New York niggaz, had did her in the park But she was there for me, and I was there for her Pull out a chair for her, turn on the air for her and just cool out, cool out and listen to her Sittin on a bone, wishin that I could do her Eventually if it was meant to be, then it would be because we related, physically and mentally And she was fun then, I'd be geeked when she'd come around Slim was fresh yo, when she was underground Original, pure untampered and down sister Boy I tell ya, I miss her Verse Two: Now periodically I would see ol girl at the clubs, and at the house parties She didn't have a body but she started gettin thick quick DId a couple of videos and became afrocentric Out goes the weave, in goes the braids beads medallions She was on that tip about, stoppin the violence About my people she was teachin me By not preachin to me but speakin to me in a method that was leisurely, so easily I approached She dug my rap, that's how we got close But then she broke to the West coast, and that was cool Cause around the same time, I went away to school And I'm a man of expandin, so why should I stand in her way She probably get her money in L.A. And she did stud, she got big pub but what was foul She said that the pro-black, was goin out of style She said, afrocentricity, was of the past So she got into R&B hip-house bass and jazz Now black music is black music and it's all good I wasn't salty, she was with the boys in the hood Cause that was good for her, she was becomin well rounded I thought it was dope how she was on that freestyle shit Just havin fun, not worried about anyone And you could tell, by how her titties hung Verse Three: I might've failed to mention that the shit was creative But once the man got you well he altered the native Told her if she got an energetic gimmick That she could make money, and she did it like a dummy Now I see her in commercials, she's universal She used to only swing it with the inner-city circle Now she be in the burbs lickin rock and dressin hip And on some dumb shit, when she comes to the city Talkin about poppin glocks servin rocks and hittin switches Now she's a gangsta rollin with gangsta bitches Always smokin blunts and gettin drunk Tellin me sad stories, now she only fucks with the funk Stressin how hardcore and real she is She was really the realest, before she got into showbiz I did her, not just to say that I did it But I'm committed, but so many niggaz hit it That she's just not the same lettin all these groupies do her I see niggaz slammin her, and takin her to the sewer But I'ma take her back hopin that the shit stop Cause who I'm talkin bout y'all is hip-hop Because Her Equals Rap.
The song "I Use to Love H. E. R." is a play on words. The word H. E. R means Her Equals Rap. So, every time Common is talking about her, he is really talking about rap. When people first hear the song they think it is about a girl, a prostitute. People think the song is somewhat sexist if they don't know the true meaning, which is shown from almost all the interviews. Common throughout the song is relating his life with rap and how the history of rap has changed. When Common says, "A few New York niggaz, had did her in the park." He is referring to the early stages of hip-hop when the young black culture would use rapping as a way of expression and the New York parks were spaces that were accessible to the black youths. Common says, "And she was fun then, I'd be geeked when she'd come around. Slim was fresh yo, when she was underground. Original, pure untampered and down sister. Boy I tell ya, I miss her." Common is beginning to point out in the song how hip-hop has changed and he wished it had stayed the same as it was before when he was younger. He uses this lyric to lead into why things have changed. Common states, "She didn't have a body but she started gettin thick quick. Did a couple of videos and became afrocentric." He is pointing out how hip-hop became a fad real quick and things started to blow up slowly, but it was still keeping it real. Common begins to explain how he grew to have a relation with rap, but soon rap went the West coast and things changed. He says, "She probably got her money in L.A." Common is pointing out that the music of hip-hop was becoming something different in L.A. and people weren't doing it for free anymore, they weren't doing it for themselves. But, Common says, "I wasn't salty, she was with the boys in the hood. Cause that was good for her, she was becomin well rounded." He noticed that hip-hop was changing, but he acknowledged that it was important for other black youths in other hoods to be expressing their feelings and surroundings through rap. Common goes on to explain how once the corporate America got a hold of rap and realized it could sell, things blew up and staying real went out the door. He says, "She was really the realest, before she got into showbiz." The second to last statement Common says, "I see niggaz slammin her, and takin her to the sewer. But I'ma take her back hopin that the shit stop." He hopes that hip-hop will go back to the way it use to be and wishes so many people wouldn't try to mess it up. The last line he says, "Cause who I'm talkin bout y'all is hip-hop," but that is the only indication that he is talking about hip-hop and many people do not pick that up. If they do pick up the last verse mostly it throws them off and they tend to ignore it. This song is very creative and Common does a good job of intertwining the story of the girl with the history of rap.
Envisioning the hereafter, listenin to Steve Wonder On a Quest for Love like the Proceed drummer I strike like lightning and don't need thunder Inhale imagination and breathe wonder That's your lady, I used to run up in her and G weed from her It's a cold world and niggaz need summer At times my going forward seems like retreat As I rewrite rhyme after rhyme and throw away beats Growing into my britches, outgrowing the streets There's a thin line between war and peace, whores and jeeps Ignore MCs like beeps, scribblin freedom on pages My third eye is like pink eye, seemin contagious Redeemin the ancients with ageless rhyme jargon I feel Mexican, hip hop is my garden Don't give a fuck where you chartin, certain shit I can't honor It ain't that you sellin, it's your karma Rappers I monitor like a chaperone, you large and haven't grown Poetically perform fly-bys, another rapper gone The stage becomes a catacomb, I rap like a mummy Not for the money, I could have sampled Diana Ross a long time ago My mind of flow is like motor key 20 Youngblood said he had dimes, I prayed that he see twenty Hollerin at the brothers, either you gon be a thug or a man Flip drugs and get land, I can see my man Rashad As he described how the bucks hit him And said slugs was still stuck in him, when it rained, it fucked wit him This bucket interrupt wisdom and asked when my album was comin I said it's here It's here (*echoed*)
I believe the overall idea of the song is growing up and deciding what you want out of life and how to get it. In the first few lines I think he is establishing that he is a powerful rapper who has come a long way from the streets that he was raised on. He says, "I strike like lightning and don't need thunder", which seems like he is setting up his image. He goes on to talk about how he as a rapper and as a man has gone through times when he had to make tough decisions. "Growing into my britches, outgrowing the streets"; I think he came to a point when he had to determine what he wanted to do with his life and if he wanted to change directions. He realizes there is danger in remaining in the ghettos and that he can alter his life, but I think he is also saying that there is risk in any kind of lifestyle you make for yourself. Common also says, "youngblood said he had dimes, and I prayed that he see twenty" which I think means that he sees young kids who are selling weed, and a general problem in the ghettos is that children do not live through their twenties; so I think he is stating that he wants more for the kids and himself as well. He raps, "There's a thin line between war and peace, whores and jeeps", and I think he is proposing that even though he might choose a different way of life for himself, there are always going to be consequences involved that may or may not seem obvious. I also think Common talks about how rap has, at times, become meaningless for him. I believe that the line "the stage has become a catacomb, I rap like a mummy/not for the money", is saying how sometimes he raps without caring about it because it is empty within himself, but I do not feel that money does not matter; when something looses meaning in life, it is hard to do it for good reasons and money often inspires unmotivated people. In some instances, I feel like I missed the significance in the lines. There were lyrics that I didn't understand because I am not too familiar with Common, and some lines were simply hard to see what he was trying to include. For instance, I did not know what he wanted to imply when he said, "I feel Mexican" and what "motor key 20" was supposed to signify. However, although there were lines that are hard to understand, I think the broad meaning is still the same; Common had to decide what was right for the future and how he wanted his life to evolve and develop.G.O.D. (Gaining One's Definition)
After bein' 25, you know, just trying to survive in the world Bout to have a little boy or baby girl. Who knows? Anyway, just when you start gettin that little age and experience to you You start thinkin about stuff...tryin to make the right moves So bust it out, this is what I was thinkin, check it
Yo, the education of the Lon-chicka-Lonnie Lynn Began, began with time Bein my bloodline is one with the divine In time brotha, you will discover the light Some say that God is Black and the Devil's White Well, the Devil is wrong and God is what's right I fight, with myself in the ring of doubt and fear The rain ain't gone, but I can still see clear As a child, given religion with no answer to why Just told believe in Jesus cuz for me he did die Curiosity killed the catechism Understanding and wisdom became the rhythm that I played to And became a slave to master self A rich man is one with knowledge, happiness and his health My mind had dealt with the books of Zen, Tao the lessons Koran and the Bible, to me they all vital And got truth within 'em, gotta read them boys You just can't skim 'em, different branches of belief But one root that stem 'em, but people of the venom try to trim 'em And use religion as an emblem When it should be a natural way of life Who am I or they to say to whom you pray ain't right That's who got you doin right and got you this far Whether you say "in Jesus name" or "Al hum du'Allah" Long as you know it's a bein' that's supreme to you You let that show towards others in the things you do Cuz when the trumpets blowin, 24 elders surround the throne Only 144,000 gon get home Only 144,000 gon get home Only 144,000 gon get it baby
I've lived and I've learned I have taken and I've earned I have laughed, I've cried I have failed and I have tried Sunshine, pouring rain found joy through all my pain I just wanna be happy with being me
[Cee-Lo] Let me voice my concern So many of my fellow brothers have given themselves a title That their actions didn't earn Our ignorance is in the same breath as our innocence Subconciously, seeking to find an impressionable mind to convince I've finally come to the realization why Black people in the worse place Cuz it's hard to correct yourself when you don't know Who you are in the first place So I try to find the clue in you But evidently, White folks know more Black history than we do Why're we bein' lied to? I ain't know our history was purposely hidden Damn, somethin' in me wanna know who I am So I began my search, my journey started in church It gave my heartache relief when I started to understand belief Hustlin was like a gift spent my share of time in the streets Taught me survival from this evil I'm just gonna have to deal with And I felt like a fool when I tried to learn it in school It almost seemed like a rehearsal when the only Science and math are universal Takin elder advice, read the Bible, the Koran Searched scrolls from the Hebrew Israelites Hold on, this ain't right, Jesus wasn't White Some leads were granted with insight and it's all in the plan, but it took me some time to overstand He still created with the imperfection of man So, with followin' I disagree By no means have I forgotten or forgiven what's been done to me but I do know the Devil ain't no White man, the Devil's a spiritual mind That's color blind, there's evil White folk and evil niggas You gon surely find there's no positivity without negativity But one side you gonna have to choose Any chance to speak I refuse to misuse So how can you call yourself God when you let a worldly possession become an obsession and the way you write your rhymes and Can't follow your lesson If a seed's sown, you make sure it's known, you make sure it's grown If you God, then save your own, don't mentally enslave your own If you God, then save your own, don't mentally enslave your own If you God, then save your own, don't mentally enslave your own
Well, I've lived and I've learned I've taken and I've earned I have laughed, I have cried I failed and I have tried Sunshine, pourin rain I found joy through my pain Just wanna be happy...bein me Bein me
This song focuses on Common becoming a father and feeling like he needs to grow up become a role model for his new child. While struggling to find critical life answers for not only himself, but now with a child, Common is faced with many quandaries relating to life and religion and society. Problems knowing the difference between good and evil and wrong and right is also a key point that was raised in this song, "Some say that God is Black and the Devil's White, Well, the Devil is wrong and God is what's right". Questions pertaining to race and the history of race are raised as well when Common questions the history that is taught in school, "So I try to find the clue in you But evidently, White folks know more Black history than we do Why're we bein' lied to? I ain't know our history was purposely hidden". I also felt that this song told of Common's belief that it doesn't matter what religion you follow or practice, as long as you believe it, "My mind had dealt with the books of Zen, Tao the lessons Koran and the Bible, to me they all vital And got truth within 'em, gotta read them boys You just can't skim 'em, different branches of belief But one root that stem 'em, but people of the venom try to trim 'em And use religion as an emblem". There is an important element in this song regarding to search for self and who/what makes you an individual. In addition, Common talks about just wanting to be himself and having that be enough "I just wanna be happy with being me". Over all G.O.D. involves a quest for answers to personal and societal questions. I think that Common wrote this song due to the anticipation of his new child and wanting to have the world figured out in order to help his child live a happy life.
Artist: Common Sense Album: One Day It'll All Make Sense Title: Hungry Common: Yo niggaz don't want none of this Niggaz know they can't fuck with this Turn this shit up just a little more I walk the night in rhymin armor bomb a nigga like a winter coat Have him on Death Row searchin for an Interscope Yet I sparkle like Irene Cara Symbolize dope like sirens do terror Mariel just had a baby someone else decapitated Flashbacks of past raps make me so glad I made it Players is gettin traded I drop a gem off, them who's style is jaded My juice is grated Shit is so bangin niggaz say it's gang related On philosopher's rink of thought, I've skated with precision Crews is gettin split like decisions Com will let it ride in collision Vision like Colleco or tele, I battle stars in stellar... Regions, my thought scheme was my like my offspring Now, it's teethin My reason of rhyme applies to season and time Season of mind , body and regions divine In mom's cookouts, I'm leavin the swine Verbal vegeterian, squashed beef with Ice Cube Came in this rap life nude Now I'm fully clothed with flows You tricks can't hide behind expensive cars and clothes Old niggaz I expose like Luke does hoes in videos With classic material, imperial and rugged like Got mag, but my slugs a mic You fake like a smile, like a hug, I'm tight Skip ladies, this is rip a muthafucka night Oracle arouse, niggaz don't even run for cover right Downtown interracial lovers hold hands I breathe heavy like an old man, with a cold can of Old Style Hold a Stone Isle profile Mix between Malcolm X and Sef when I go wild Hold mics like a second nut until the second comin Hummin comin towards you with power like forest do Hip hop, you my bitch and like a Ford, I'm Explorin you So, wack niggaz be cool, with them, I stay cordial Flowin room temperature, cats is presumed miniature Like golf. Soft like Tiger Woods And real nigga angles I've stood with ways that's geometric Don't need to rob banks with dike broads to Set it I levitate to the occasion, lounge like a lyricist Rhyme wise, you a rest haven You sat by the door spooked like I was Wes Craven You need to do more deletin and less savin A praise in hell, raisin heaven Like the bill on my pager leavens What you should have known from day one You will on day seven (scratching)Hungry hip hop junkie in the city(x3)
The general recurrent theme found in 'Hungry' pertains to the artist's infatuation with not selling out to corporate record labels such as Interscope (line 5) and being able to keep it real. Large corporate labels, in his view, stagnate the creative process by putting limits on the artist's ability to express him/herself. He insinuates that death row is a form of selling out, and that gangsta rap, like in the track "I used to love her" is an inferior by-product of hip-hop. Common talks about how to him, hip-hop is one of the only true and pure forms of self-expression available to him and his community, and that he wants to pursue this as far as it will take him. Giving hip-hop a gender, once more, in the line "Hip hop, you my bitch and like a Ford, I'm Explorin you" He chooses to carry a gun composed of lyrics and rhythms, opposed to gangsta rappers who use actual guns. He briefly mentions Ice Cube and how he considers himself to be a complete opposite from him in regards to the lyrical content and message of his songs. Trust is also a major issue that runs throughout this track. The line "you fake a smile, like a hug I'm tight" shows how people (record label executives, people wanting money, etc.) can be deceiving with smiles and pleasant talk, yet a hug is a physical act of leaving oneself open to any positive or negative impact that the other might have. Common finishes his rap with "what you should have known from day one you will on day seven", a very powerful rhythm. On the seventh day god rested. these lines are open to a variety of interpretation, yet in the context of the rest of the lyrics preceding it, it may be taken in the sense that all the other hip-hop artists should rest, and observe Common as he dominates the hip-hop world, being the best lyricist in the world. He is a hungry hip-hop junkie in the city in the sense that he is constantly in search of new material to speak about, and is also constantly in search of hip-hop lyricist opponents that he may compete against and vanquish.