With his 1994 single “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” Common gave the conscious hip-hop movement one of its anthems. My colleague Collin Robinson once elaborated that the Resurrection track “chided hip-hop artists for moving away from afrocentric and socially aware rhymes to combat gangster rap’s quickly growing influence in the mid ’90s and consumerism exploding in the late ’90s and early 2000s.” The acronym H.E.R. loosely stood for “Hip-Hop in its Essence is Real.”
Today Common shares a 25th anniversary update on the song. Titled “H.E.R. Love,” it features vocals from Daniel Caesar and Dwele and a previously unheard J Dilla beat. It’s billed as a “State Of The Union” for hip-hop. Common name-drops lots of today’s most popular MCs, from Noname to YG to Jaden Smith, and admits he feels antsy about moving on to acting when rapping is what “gave me a voice in the world.” In the middle the music drops out for a spoken word section.
Savanah Leaf directed the song’s video, which premiered at the Annenberg Space for Photography in conjunction with an exhibit titled “CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop.” Now it’s online and you can watch it below, along with the original “I Used To Love H.E.R.”
A press release indicates Common has a new album coming soon.