Favorite Hip-Hop Verses 19: Common – Respiration

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Yo…on The Amen, Corner I stood lookin at my former hood
Felt the spirit in the wind, knew my friend was gone for good
Threw dirt on the casket, the hurt, I couldn’t mask it
Mixin down emotions, struggle I hadn’t mastered
I choreograph seven steps to heaven
And hell, waiting to exhale and make the bread leavened
Veteran of a cold war It’s Chica-I-go for
What I know or, what’s known
So some days I take the bus home, just to touch home
From the crib I spend months gone
Sat by the window with a clutched dome listenin to shorties cuss long
Young girls with weak minds, but they butt strong
Tried to call, or at least beep the Lord, but didn’t have a touch-tone
It’s a dog-eat-dog world, you gotta mush on
Some of this land I must own
Outta the city, they want us gone
Tearin down the ‘jects creatin plush homes
My circumstance is between Cabrini and Love Jones
Surrounded by hate, yet I love home
Asked my God how he thought travellin the world sound
Found it hard to imagine he hadn’t been past downtown
It’s deep, I heard the city breathe in its sleep
Of reality I touch, but for me it’s hard to keep
Deep, I heard my man breathe in his sleep
Of reality I touch, but for me it’s hard to keep

Either of the three verses on Respiration could have made my all-time list, but Common gets it for one reason: word play. One of my favorite things about Common’s style is his use of homophones. The “hey man corner” is simply among my all-time favorites. All things being equal, and in this case, they are, that’s about enough to make the difference.

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One Response to “Favorite Hip-Hop Verses 19: Common – Respiration”
  1. wendypope says:

    Three competing store owners rented adjoining shops in a mall.Observers waited for mayhem to ensue. The retailer on the right put up huge signs saying, “Gigantic Sale!” and “Super Bargains!” The store on the left raised bigger signs proclaiming, “Prices Slashed!” and “Fantastic Discounts!” The owner in the middle then prepared a large sign that simply stated, “ENTRANCE”.

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