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Common's sophomore release established a level of quality from the MC that carried through to his innovative work of the 2000s and 2010s. Spare, relaxed, jazz-laden grooves create a context for this Chicago rhyme-master 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 Love 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 his intelligent, agile style and scintillating street poetry -- and to the album's spare, groovy tracks that owe nothing to trends of the moment -- Resurrection still sounds smart decades after its release.

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