Magnum Opus: Falling in Love With Common's "The Light" Again

Sometimes we take a classic for granted, don't make that mistake with Common's "The Light."
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Sometimes we take a classic for granted, don't make that mistake with Common's "The Light."

Born and raised in D.C., I have passed by or visited pretty much every D.C. landmark or museum about a thousand times. Whenever we have family in town, we always take them to see the sights. I don't know whether I've had more class field trips to the Mall or nights spent drinking by the monuments.

These days, I'm jaded. I laugh at the people gawking over the White House and pass by the Lincoln Memorial without even batting an eye. Sometimes though - maybe I'm flying into National airport or I catch the Washington Monument at sunset - even I get caught up in the beauty of our nation's capital. It takes a special time or event to make me appreciate how incredible D.C. really is.

That's the way I feel about Common's classic "The Light."

One of the first Common records I had ever heard -- forgive me overlooking his first three albums -- "The Light" has been a steady part of my hip-hop diet throughout the years. It's one of those songs that you never, ever turn off when it comes on. The only problem is that it's not on as much as it used to be. Whether it be my iPod or the radio, "The Light" doesn't get played in my headphones like it once was. It's like living in D.C. your whole life. You have experienced it so many times, you easily and constantly overlook it.

Well, like that sunset casting shadows over the Mall, a behind the scenes look at "The Light" has re-ignited my passion for the legendary cut. As part of their "Magnum Opus" series, Complex interviewed everyone from Common himself to Erkyah Badu to Bob Power, the mixing engineer. Hell, they even interviewed Bobby Caldwell, whose vocals are sampled on the track.

Hip-hop heads are a hungry, insatiable lot, we want so much music all the time, we rarely stop and think about how a track came to be. I have heard "The Light" a million times, but I never thought, "I wonder where and when Common first heard this beat?" Well, all the questions you never would think to ask have been answered. 

My fellow rap nerds, take some time to watch and re-appreciate a hip-hop classic.

Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.