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The late '90s produced very few gifted and intelligent rappers compared to the music's commercial success of the time; Chicago's Common proved to be one of the best, breaking out with his 1997 LP One Day It'll All Make Sense. A former ball boy for the Chicago Bulls, the rapper was originally known as Common Sense on a pair of albums for Combat and Ruthless, 1992's Can I Borrow a Dollar? and 1994's Resurrection. From the latter album, "I Used to Love H.E.R." gained respect in hip-hop's underground for its denouncement of gangsta rap. By 1997, Common Sense had shortened his name to Common, and his third album One Day It'll All Make Sense included a duet with the Fugees' Lauryn Hill, as well as collaborations with Q-Tip (from A Tribe Called Quest), De La Soul, Black Thought (from the Roots) and Erykah Badu. Like Water for Chocolate followed in the spring of 2000.

Copyright 2001 by Wendy Van Wagner, Rose Levinson, Patrick Moore, Liz Heinz