22 Years Later: I Used to Love H.E.R.

By Jessica Golich

Although Chicago is often celebrated for its blues music brought to life by guitars that cry and shiver, smooth jazz, and ethereal house music, the windy city is often pushed to the side when it comes to shedding light on the cities that hip-hop heavy weights that have opened seemingly heavenly musical gates call home. Chi-town’s allure for conscious, underground hip-hop is magnetizing, and one soulful king of the mic, Common, has created a discography of tracks that consistently transmute silver into gold and lure listeners into it’s enlightening musical stratosphere as his journey unfolds.

It’s been 22 years since the south-sider dropped his signature single, “I Used to Love H.E.R.”, which harmoniously blends jazzy melodies with a piercing amount of lyrical realism that deconstructs societal chatter and works it’s way into your gray matter. Despite all of the hooting and the hollering from puffy jacket and boots-wearing hustlers in the world of hip-hop back in 1994, Common stood firm in the artform of self-expression and the deliverance of common sense through versatile layers and bars that reverberated the yearnings of the people. As hip-hop rapidly evolves, the poetically rich words of wisdom laced into Resurrection’s standout track, “I Used to Love H.E.R”, remain absolutely timeless. Cunning irony speaks volumes throughout Common’s lyrical magic in the classic banger which leads listeners down the tunnel of delusion while under the impression that his poesy expression is in reference to a female. “I Used to Love H.E.R” creates the notion of a mellowing romantic relationship which metaphorically serves as a proclamation of spiritual and moral decline in the music industry along with reference to conscious hip-hop’s descendance. H.E.R is an acronym for “hearing every rhyme” and by shifting every listener’s perspective, Common’s lyrical charm morphed perspectives of gangsta rap’s demeaning exploitations across the nation.  


“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
On the regular, not a church girl she was secular
Not about the money, those studs was mic checking her
But I respected her.”

Common has created career longevity through progressively warping classic soul into musical numbers full of swift rhymes that stand the test of time. Today, we tip our hat to the man of soul for sharing his vision that is radiant and clear with no wretched desire or fear.