10 Best Common Songs Of All Time

Common Songs

Feature Photo: Feast of Music from New York City, United States, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

10 Best Common Songs Of All Time looks at a man whose artistry extends beyond music into acting and writing, but his impact within hip-hop is marked by introspective lyrics and a commitment to addressing social issues, making him a pivotal figure in the genre’s expansion into conscious rap.

Common’s significance in the music business is highlighted by his numerous accolades, including Grammy Awards, which celebrate his contributions to both music and social commentary through his work. His ability to blend poetry with hip-hop has earned him critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base.

His musical journey began with the release of his first single, “Take It EZ,” in 1992, followed by his debut album, “Can I Borrow a Dollar?” He has since released a total of twelve studio albums, along with several EPs and compilations, each project showcasing his growth as an artist and his versatility in addressing a range of topics from love to social justice.

Influenced by the likes of Gil Scott-Heron and Rakim, Common’s music is characterized by its lyrical depth and social consciousness, drawing from the rich traditions of soul, jazz, and funk. His work has inspired a new generation of artists who value lyrical complexity and social relevance in their music, contributing to the ongoing evolution of hip-hop.

Here now are our ten favorite songs by Common.

10 – The People

“The People” was released on April 3, 2007, as part of Common’s seventh studio album, Finding Forever. The song, co-written by Common and its producer Kanye West, stands out for its soulful beat and uplifting lyrics about unity and the power of the people.

Fans love “The People” for its positive message and Common’s smooth delivery over a classic Kanye West production. The track’s warm, soulful sample and socially conscious lyrics resonate with listeners who appreciate hip-hop with substance. While “The People” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, it remains a fan favorite and a highlight in Common’s discography for its heartfelt message and classic sound.

9 – The Light

“The Light” was released on March 21, 2000, from Common’s fourth album, Like Water for Chocolate. Produced by the late J Dilla, the song samples Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes” and is celebrated for its heartfelt lyrics about love and relationships.

This track is beloved for its poetic lyricism and the soulful, jazzy beat that exemplifies the neo-soul influence on hip-hop at the time. “The Light” reached number 44 on the Billboard Hot 100, showcasing Common’s ability to connect with a wider audience through his introspective and genuine storytelling.

8 – Go!

“Go!” was released on July 12, 2005, as part of Common’s sixth album, Be. The track, produced by Kanye West and featuring vocals by John Mayer, is known for its lively beat and playful lyrics that celebrate life and love.

Fans appreciate “Go!” for its upbeat vibe and Common’s charismatic flow, which, combined with Kanye’s production, creates a feel-good track perfect for any playlist. “Go!” charted at number 79 on the Billboard Hot 100, reflecting its appeal as a light-hearted, infectious tune in Common’s catalog.

7 – Testify

“Testify” was released on August 30, 2005, from the album Be. Produced by Kanye West, the song features a compelling narrative structure, with Common telling a courtroom drama story that twists at the end.

The track is celebrated for its storytelling prowess and cinematic production, showcasing Common’s skill as a lyrical storyteller. “Testify” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 but remains a standout track for its narrative depth and the way it showcases Common’s versatility as an artist.

6 – Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)

“Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” was released on November 5, 2002, as part of the soundtrack for the film Brown Sugar. This collaboration with Erykah Badu merges hip-hop with soul and R&B, creating a tribute to the genre as if it were a romantic partner.

The song is adored for its smooth blend of rap and soul, showcasing the chemistry between Common and Badu. “Love of My Life” reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, highlighting Common’s ability to create crossover hits that resonate with a broad audience.

5 – Resurrection

“Resurrection” was released on September 27, 1994, as the title track of Common’s second album. Produced by No I.D., the song is known for its intricate wordplay and dense lyricism, set against a backdrop of soulful, jazz-infused beats.

This track is a favorite among hip-hop purists for its intellectual depth and Common’s reflective lyricism. “Resurrection” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 but is considered a classic in underground hip-hop circles for its artistic integrity and lyrical prowess.

4 – Blue Sky

“Blue Sky” was released on October 4, 2011, from Common’s ninth studio album, The Dreamer/The Believer. Produced by No I.D., the song samples Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” offering an uplifting message and vibrant, soulful production.

Fans love “Blue Sky” for its motivational lyrics and the optimistic outlook it provides, showcasing Common’s ability to inspire through his music. While “Blue Sky” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, it remains a beloved track for its positive energy and Common’s engaging flow.

3 – The Corner

“The Corner,” featuring The Last Poets and released on March 1, 2005, from Be, captures the essence of life in urban neighborhoods. Produced by Kanye West, the song is celebrated for its raw depiction of street corners as gathering places for the community.

This track is renowned for its social commentary and the fusion of hip-hop with spoken word, making “The Corner” a powerful piece in Common’s oeuvre. The song reached number 42 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, solidifying its impact as a thought-provoking and culturally significant track.

2 – Kingdom

“Kingdom,” featuring Vince Staples, was released on June 3, 2014, as part of Common’s tenth album, Nobody’s Smiling. Produced by No I.D., the song offers a gritty narrative of street life and the quest for redemption.

The track stands out for its cinematic storytelling and compelling production, with Common and Vince Staples delivering poignant verses. “Kingdom” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 but is praised for its depth and the way it addresses complex social issues through powerful lyricism.

1 – Glory

“Glory,” a collaboration with John Legend, was released on December 11, 2014, as part of the soundtrack for the film Selma. The song, co-written by Common, John Legend, and Rhymefest, is an anthemic tribute to the Civil Rights Movement.

“Glory” is celebrated for its inspirational message and the powerful blend of Legend’s soulful vocals with Common’s evocative rap verses. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and peaked at number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Common’s most successful and culturally impactful song to date.

Sources:

Charting information used in the analysis and research of the commercial success of these songs comes from Billboard Magazine Charts

https://www.billboard.com/charts/

Other sources for important factual information include the band’s website

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0996669/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Common-American-rapper

Further analysis is provided by the writer’s experience as a fan (a very big fan), educator, and music journalist.

10 Best Common Songs Of All Time article published on HipHopGroove.com© 2024

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