Saturday, July 25, 2009

Common : The Corner

SONG The Corner

WRITTEN BY Common, The Last Poets

PERFORMED BY Common ft. The Last Poets

APPEARS ON Be (2004)

In some neighborhoods the corner is the epicenter for life. When you grow up in the inner city you get accustomed to seeing men on the standing or sitting on the corner. In general people in the neighborhood have a tendency to sit outside anyway but the corner is where the men congregate together to share a common existence. It is usually the area that is close to the neighborhood store. When I was growing up the corners around my house were reserved for the older men to share a drink and discuss the good and bad aspects of life's journey. They wouldn't do anything but stand out there, talk loud, and yell at the children when they saw them doing something wrong. You can also find other things on the corner depending on where you are. You can find young street soldiers marking their territory and making money by selling illegal drugs. That’s the dark side of the corner. You can find people selling some pretty unique items like paintings of deceased black actors and entertainers or gift baskets on Mother’s Day. There could even be a few street preachers saving souls. These days you might see a bunch of folks selling Barack Obama t-shirts.

The Corner is a hip hop song performed by Common on his “Be” album. The album was released in 2004. The Corner was his second single released in 2005. I am sure there may be some folks reading this page that are not hip hop fans. If the music doesn’t appeal to you look up the lyrics to Common songs and appreciate his lyrical ability. I’m sure if he was a singer instead of a rapper he would be considered one of the greatest lyricists of this generation. He has a gift for explaining the human experience without being ignorant. Even the rough side of urban life is told in a way that gives a human aspect to the situation. This is an under appreciated gift in hip hop music. The song is taken to another level by the spoken word of The Last Poets. The injection of the poetry leading into the second verse and closing out the song gives it a different energy. The song is produced by Kanye West who also adds his voice on the hook. The basic raw hip hop sound lets the message in the lyrics take center stage.


(featuring Kanye West & The Last Poets)

[Verse 1: Common]
Memories on corners with the fours & the moors (pronounced foes and moes)
Walk to the store for the rose talking straightforward to
Got uncles that smoke it some put blow up they nose
To cope with they lows the wind is cold & it blows
In they socks & they souls holding they rolls
Corners leave souls opened & closed hoping for more
With nowhere to go rolling in droves
They shoot the wrong way cause they ain't knowing they goals
The streets ain't safe cause they ain't knowing the code
By the fours I was told either focus or fold
Got cousins with flows hope they open some doors
So we can cop clothes & roll in a Rolls
Now I roll in a "Olds" with windows that don't roll
Down the roads where cars get broke in & stole
These are the stories told by Stony & Cottage Grove
The world is cold the block is hot as a stove
On the corners

[Hook: Kanye West]
I wish I could give ya this feeling
I wish I could give ya this feeling
On the corners, robbing, killing, dying
Just to make a living (huh)

[Spoken: The Last Poets]
We underrated, we educated
The corner was our time when times stood still
And gators and snakes skins and yellow and pink
And colored blue profiles glorifying that

[Verse 2: Common]
Streetlights & deep nights cats trying to eat right
Riding no seat bikes with work to feed hypes
So they can keep sweet Nikes they head & they feet right
Desires of street life cars & weed types
It's hard to breath nights days are thief like
The beast roam the streets the police is Greek like
Game at it's peak we speak & believe hype
Bang in the streets hats cocked left or deep right
Its steep life coming up where sheep like
Rappers & hoopers we strive to be like
G's with 3 stripes seeds that need light
Cheese & weaves tight needs & thieves strike
The corner where struggle & greed fight
We write songs about wrong cause it's hard to see right
Look to the sky hoping it will bleed light
Reality's and I heard that she bites
The corner


[Spoken: The Last Poets]
The corner was our magic, our music, our politics
Fires raised as tribal dancers and
war cries that broke out on different corners
Power to the people, black power, black is beautiful

[Verse 3: Common]
Black church services, murderers, Arabs serving burger its
Cats with gold permanents move they bags as herbalist
The dirt isn't just fertile its people working & earning this
The curb-getters go where the cash flow & the current is
It's so hot that burn to live the furnace is
Where the money move & the determined live
We talk play lotto & buy german beers
It's so black packed with action that's affirmative
The corners


[Spoken: The Last Poets]
The corner was our Rock of Gibraltar, our Stonehenge
Our Taj Mahal, our monument,
Our testimonial to freedom, to peace and to love
Down on the corner...

1 comment:

  1. Good post. I can't claim any expertise on rap, but I did enjoy Common's Electric Circus. I'll check this one out.

    Have you read Simon and Burns' The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner City Neighborhood? Highly recommended. More about it here.