Common - I Used to Love H.E.R.
To this day, whenever I hear a rapper giving a first-person account of a romantic relationship, I listen between the lines to ascertain whether the woman (or, more rarely, the man) at the heart of the drama is actually a stand-in for hip-hop. Common‘s I Used to Love H.E.R. is why. The lead single off 1994 sophomore set Resurrection, this cut wasn’t as commercially successful as many of our previous Throwback Thursday selections, but its influence is unparalleled; not only has its allegorical depiction of the genre’s fall from grace become deeply ingrained in the underground mindset, but the details of the record, from the Chi-town spitter’s mic performance to No I.D.‘s jazzy beat (sampled from George Benson’s This Changing World) have been referenced and imitated endlessly in the intervening years. Common himself even picked up the narrative thread on recent mixtape single The Next Chapter (Still Love H.E.R.). The classic video, directed by Chris Halliburton, vividly illustrates both sides of the record’s central metaphor.