Way back on Oct. 6, 1992, the world got its real first taste of one of the most innovative and gifted voices to emerge from the city of Chicago. Yes, it was nearly 20 years ago today that Common—then known as Common Sense—would make his squeaky-voiced debut with Can I Borrow A Dollar? The album didn’t receive much attention, a positive or negative depending on who you ask. For me, it’s a prime example of an artist who hasn’t quite found his footing yet and just wants to be heard. And that’s actually what is most enjoyable about the LP in retrospect: you know Com’s got a classic lingering in his brain, ready to emerge in 1994.
That classic, of course, would be Resurrection, an about-face to end all about-faces. A 180 to end all 180s. A … you get my point.If not, here it is: Dude didn’t just switch or clean up his style, he got an entire fucking makeover. You know, kind of like Jay-Z did before making his debut with Reasonable Doubt. Prior to that record’s release, Hov was a quick-spitting MC with a flow akin to Big L, which made sense given their proximity and time spent together. But with Reasonable Doubt, the Jigga man revealed that he knew just what he was and what he would be: a smooth-talkin’, sharp spitter with strong narratives, clever word play, and a choice ear for production (mostly).
But Common? He didn’t really have that same luxury, so to speak. And to say that he completely wowed the hip-hop world two years later with Resurrection would be a massive understatement. Somehow, he and No I.D. refined their approach, defined their sound, and crafted one of the best hip-hop albums of all time. They also paved the way for one of the more intriguing careers in hip-hop history. Has anyone else changed their style as much as Com over the years?
It’s with that in mind that we’re diving headfirst into how Common has developed in the past 20 years. Click page 2 below to continue reading.