Common Sense, representing Chicago and the rest of the underrepresented Midwest, delivers the hip-hop equivalent of a fastball on Resurrection
, his follow-up to 1992's Can I Borrow a Dollar?
. Too honest to play mean and too street to be alternative, rapper Rashied Lynn instead draws his alter ego, Common Sense, as someone very close to himself: a smart young urbanite, raised and molded by hip-hop. It's this sensibility that gives birth to a bittersweet anthem like "I Used to Love H.E.R.," an extended conceit that casts hip-hop itself as Everyrapper's lost love: "I met this girl when I was 10 years old / And what I loved the most was she had so much soul ..."
On the whole, though, his rhymes and the familiar light-jazz backing tracks are rarely spectacular--at least not enough to dent the walls of the form. But MOR hip-hop, like baseball, has always been a game of inches, so chances are good that the kid will squeeze by with the right attitude, even if his rap doesn't quite live up. --Roni Sarig