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Top 25 Hip-Hop Songs of the 2000s: #13 Common “The Light”

Posted by Nathan S. on 12/07/09 | Filed under Features, Common, Best of the 2000s
Top 25 Hip-Hop Songs of the 2000s
With the number 13 pick of our "Top 25 of the 2000s" countdown, and are proud to select...Common's "The Light"!

If you're a hip-hop fan who has yet to see the light and give Common his just due - how should I put this? - you're an idiot. A first ballot hip-hop hall-of-famer with a flow that's so good it often gets taken for granted, the 2000s found Common largely experimenting with his sound. When those experiments failed, the failed, but when they succeeded we got "The Light". The second single off his acclaimed "Like Water for Chocolate" album, the Grammy nominated "The Light" was produced by the legendary J Dilla and is Common's biggest hit to date, reaching #44 on the Billboard chart.

Common is the Scottie Pippen of rap. Since his career has chronologically paralleled the Michael Jordan of rap (Jay-Z) he's never been viewed as "the greatest alive", but while he may not be a super-superstar, his rhyme game is one of the most complete in hip-hop history. If you need deep, conscious raps, he can do it. If you need hard battle rhymes, he can do it. If you need someone to jump on a single for a memorably guest verse, he can do it. Like Pippen, while he may not do one thing "the best", the full range of his game might just make him the best rapper of his generation, even if he never gets the same credit as his flashier peers.

"The Light" is living, audio proof of Common's versatility. During "Like Water for Chocolate" he was fully immersed in his "conscious" rap phase, but on "The Light" he transcends any cries of "Common's gone soft" by incorporating a supremely soulful and dope beat from Dilla along with rhymes that showcase his lyrical mastery and complex understanding of flow. To put it more simply, if you're in a club when "The Light" comes on, and everyone in the crowd doesn't make that "ooohhhh" sound crowds make when they hear a DJ spin a classic track, leave the club immediately. Those people obviously don't know anything about good music.

For a complete list of the Top 25 picks so far click here.

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