I used to love H.E.R.

I’ve never been a huge fan of homework.  But it’s not always doing math equations and reading 50pgs a day.  For my Hip Hop and Black Culture class part of my assignment is to listen to this song, watch the video, and read the lyrics to prepare for a class discussion.  Awesome!

Video, lyrics, then a couple of reflections.

This is Chicago-based rapper Common (when he was still Common Sense) in the 1994 song “I used to love H.E.R.” off the album Resurrection.

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 this chick was creative
But once the man got you well he altered her native
Told her if she got an image and a 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

---------------
Besides this being a classic work it is one of the great hip hop 
parables.  This would be anexample of one of those songs that is 
all-too-easy misunderstood at face value.  You could listen
and even be offended because he talks of sex or lewd observations 
about the subject's new sexy style. When this song came out you 
gotta remember what was happening in the world-especially in the 
hip hopworld.  West Coast vs. East Coast and Gangsta Rap was c
oming up.  Hip Hop had gone through the folk and art phases 
and was now in the pop phase-it was being made for mass consumption.  

Common uses the woman he always loved as a metaphor for hip hop,
 showing him the way-going through consciousness and into a place 
that he did not want to follow-making money and being about sex,
violence, and drugs.  It had sold its soul, but hope remained for 
redemption.

H.E.R. means "Hip Hop in its Essence is Real."

Great song and this was when Common was still the man.  
His last 2 albums haven't quite lived upto his old stuff, imho.

3 thoughts on “I used to love H.E.R.

  1. what a cool class! college has come a long way. also i did my senior thesis on the 4 elements of hip hop so if you want to borrow it….:)

  2. that class sounds amazing. wish i would have taken more stuff like that in school…architecture got SO BORING! love the metaphor of that song. i didnt get into Common Sense until he was just Common, so all i know is his latest stuff, but this is what a bunch of my cooler friends were listening to in college.

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