Rolling Stone - 2/9/95, pp.55-564 Stars
- Excellent - "...Common Sense has succeeded in creating that rare thing: a solid hardcore hip-hop album. Hardcore not for the verbal body count but for the confluence of phat beats, smooth flows and dope rhymes..."
Vibe - 11/94, p.140
"...Common Sense rocks many styles....He'll reach scholars, hoodlums, and heretics..."
The Source - 10/94, p.793.5 Stars
- Dope - "...Common Sense's no-bullshit brand of hip-hop may not deliver the superficial thrills others have to offer, but there is no denying the intelligence and heart that guides it. This is one MC who lives up to his name..."
Option - 3-4/95, pp.97-98
"...an MC whose clever, offbeat rhymes and straightforward, spare beats single-handedly put Chicago on the hip-hop map in 1992....On his new album, he seems to stretch out and enjoy the reality of his surroundings, with exceptional results and often complicated themes..."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.753 stars out of 5
-- "[A]t just 22, Common created a sophomore album rebirth that still stands as one of the most assured hip-hop albums of the mid-90s."
Personnel: Common Sense, NO I.D., The Illustrious and Praiseworthy Mohammed Ali, The Late Show's Ynot Never The Less (vocals), Lenny Underwood (keyboards), Mista Sinister (scratches).
Producers: NO I.D. (tracks 1-5, 7-11, 13, 15); The Late Show's Ynot Never The Less (tracks 12, 14).
Engineers: Troy Hightower (tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9-15); Stephen Georgiafandis (tracks 2, 4, 8).
All songs written by Common Sense. Contains samples from "Protect Ya Neck" (as performed by Wu-Tang Clan) and "Power Of Love" (as performed by Alton McClain and Destiny).
The music on RESURRECTION seems deceptively simple--jazzy loops over a strong break beat--but this is only because the true focus on any Common Sense album is the lyrics. Common is an underrated rapper, possessing enormous skills on the mic, able to string together seemingly endless syllables and phrases into a fluent, flowing story line. He often speaks in soundbites, using an old commercial's ad-line or another rapper's hook, but always recreating them to fit into the story he's trying to tell, usually regarding his life and his 'hood--Chicago's Stony Island.
Common Sense has grown up since his 1992 debut, CAN I BORROW A DOLLAR? Instead of wasting time dogging the "Heidi Hoes" around his way, he turns his talent towards more mature themes. While he spends plenty of time discussing monetary matters in songs like "Chapter 13 (Rich Man Vs. Poor Man)" and "Communism," the album's centerpiece is "I Used To Love H.E.R.," a chronicle of Common's long time relationship with the woman he loves--an extended metaphor for hip hop herself. He sounds sad and jealous describing how other rappers have treated her ("Slammin' her, and taking her to the sewer"), and vows to take her back and treat her right--no false promise when it comes out of Common's mouth.
Placing Chicago firmly onto the hip-hop map, Common Sense has brought some sanity and intelligence back to a genre that has missed it the past few years.
Personnel: Lenny Underwood (keyboards); Mista Sinista (scratches).
Audio Mixers: Mike Koch; Troy Hightower.
Recording information: Battery studios, Chicago, IL; Mirror Image.
Photographer: Chris Anda.
Common Sense's sophomore release established a level of quality from the MC that would carry through to his most innovative albums, LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE and BE. Spare, relaxed, jazz-laden grooves create a context for this Chicago rhymemaster to do what he does best, and in very few places on RESURRECTION do the verses leave listeners wanting. Narratives, metaphors, puns, and dazzling verbal wordplay are on offer throughout.
"I Used to Lover H.E.R.," for example, uses a first-person romance narrative to detail the history of hip-hop, resulting in an extended metaphor that's sophisticated, clever, and delivers a moral message. Common outs himself as an MC with a conscience on tunes like "Nuthin' to Do," which critiques the poor state of many of Chicago's neighborhoods. Thanks in part to Common's intelligent, agile style and scintillating street poetry, and to the album's spare, groovy tracks that owe nothing to trends of the moment, RESURRECTION will still sound smart decades after its release.