Questlove's Top 50 Hip-Hop Songs of All Time

26

Common, "I Used to Love H.E.R." (1994)

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'94 marked a year of growing pains for fans of hip-hop. For all of those post-civil-rights kids who were 10 when hip-hop went national, it had been like welcoming a new pet in the family, or a lil' sister, or even your first schoolboy crush. Now, some 14 years later, that pet ain't the same ol' chum that you spent your childhood with. Your lil' sis wants her own space. And your crush now wants to hold hands with Jamal in the ninth grade, leaving you in the cold. You get older. They get older and most likely move on to another place in time. Common dealt with his bewilderment in the sweetest way possible: a Dear John letter. This was hip-hop's version of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine." Nice how a goodbye letter actually winds up immortalizing one of the most gifted MCs in our culture – thus ensuring her memory forever.

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