When you think of most artists' second albums, there is often a great disappointment. 'It Was Written,' 'Immobilarity,' 'Rasassination' and many more sophomore joints haven't come close to their predecessors. In contrast, 'Resurrection' was a great leap for the man behind 'Take It EZ.' Sure, Com was far from wack on 'Can I Borrow A Dollar,' but you'd hardly hear people calling him the world's greatest MC.
Now, in 2000, you'll find few who won't call him that. When did all this start? With a little album called 'Resurrection.' While most rappers were (and still are) into big, obvious lyricism, Common Sense's style has always been subtler. "I'm a coach, not a player / Than a gay MC I'm straighter / My style is similar to AIDS you be effin it now but catch it later," a quotable from 'Watermelon' is typical of Common dropping incredible lyrics without emphasizing every word just so that people catch each line. Even in 1994, his lyrics were good enough to go over most peoples heads without them even noticing.
As well as this less arrogant delivery, Common brought great concepts. The reason that I picked up 'Resurrection' was the undoubted classic 'I Used To Love H.E.R.' This masterpiece was a love song aimed at everyone's favourite musical genre, and was pulled off with such quality that it has been "referenced" by dozens of hip hoppers ("Like Common I used to love her, now I just fuck her with two rubbers.") Less appreciated is also excellent 'Chapter 13 (Rich Man vs Poor Man)' where Ynot and Common Sense played the respective title roles very impressively.
More introspective lyrics come on two more fresh tracks; 'Book of Life' and 'thisisme,' where on both Com talks about himself over immaculate production. These are two of my favourite beats on the album, and No I.D. definitely brings great instrumentals all over the LP. A few joints sound slightly samey, but that's not exactly a flaw (having two tracks which both sound awesome is not a flaw). Ynot's two contributions are also extremely dope, and hit a little harder than No I.D.'s work.
But the best beat, and the best track overall, is the incredible 'Resurrection,' which did as it's title suggests and made everyone who owned this album love the work of Common Sense. It also showed that, whether focused lyrically or just spitting the bragging rhymes everybody loves, Common was a great lyricist. Other examples of great wordplay with no concept are 'Watermelon,' 'Orange Pineapple Juice,' 'Communism' and my personal favourite, 'Sum Shit I Wrote.'
Much like another of my faves, 'Soul on Ice,' 'Resurrection' didn't have the impact it deserved. Common still isn't recognized as one of the world's finest MCs (by most mainstream listeners at least). Intelligent lyricism and smart wordplay is still not the norm in today's hip-hop world. And original, conceptual works are still a rarity on today's guest-heavy, content-light hip hop albums. But all of this means little when you listen to the greatness of every moment of this LP. A masterpiece by a true master of emceeing.