There are a few odes to hip-hop that are considered #CultureClassics and this week we’re showing love to one of the all-time greats, “I Used to Love H.E.R.” by rap legend Common.
“I Used to Love H.E.R.” was one of the lead singles off Common’s 1994 album Resurrection, and has since become one of Common’s most celebrated records. Produced by No I.D. (of Jay-Z and Kanye West production fame), it features the jazzy beat sample from “The Changing World” by George Benson.
The song and accompanying video serve as a metaphor using a woman to represent hip hop music. The song speaks on the direction that hip hop music took during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It specifically refers to the fall of conscious and Afrocentric rap; as well as the rising popularity of West Coast hip hop/gangsta rap. In the song, Common makes an analogy comparing the degradation of a woman with the deterioration of hip hop music after its commercial success forced it into the mainstream spotlight. This criticism was controversial at the time even igniting a feud with West Coast rap pioneer Ice Cube, who took umbrage with Commons critique of west coast’s hip-hop’s role in the changing sound of rap.
But the main takeaway from the song is one song man’s personal journey with the amazing art form we call hip-hop and his genuine love and affection for it no matter what direction “she” takes. It’s personal, it’s powerful, it’s a Culture Classic.
#FunFact: The acronym “H.E.R” means “Hip-Hop in its Essence is Real”
Check out more of our #CultureClassics:
Written by @TalentedMrFord