Common & J Dilla’s The Light Was Part Of The Love Movement. Get The Backstory (Video)

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Common’s career took a tremendous turn on 2000’s Like Water For Chocolate. At the perceived pinnacle of the Okay Player artist movement, Common and MCA Records made what is rarely considered the MC’s best album, but may very well be his most important.

Transitioning from the critical acclaim of 1997’s One Day It’ll Make Sense, Comm’ joined a major label regime at MCA. In the two-and-a-half years between, the artist blended in with the underground movement of the times, including some evolving veterans (Black Star, Brand Nubian, Beatnuts). While releasing 12″ singles and doing soundtrack and compilation work, Common became a role model for movements like Rawkus Records and others, making praised, commercially-viable work while touring incessantly.

That span culminated on Like Water… There, the Chicago vet enlisted J Dilla, DJ Premier, D’Angelo, Slum Village, Bilal, MC Lyte and others in making an album that recharged Common’s career, and gave him his first Top 50, and Top 20 (#16).

Some of those involved, including Common, Erykah Badu (who did the remix), super-engineer Bob Power, and Frank-N-Dank’s Frank Nitt appear on Complex’s Magnum Opus series to recount the making of the song (and video) of Common’s second single, “The Light.”

Heads may recall, but the song sort of publicized the relationship with Erykah Badu, and arguably was a precursor for “Love Of My Life.” Moreover, the success of the single, especially following the highly-introspective, gritty-sounding DJ Premier-produced “6th Sense,” showed Comm’ a market in “the love movement.” Throughout the albums to come, Common reached back for “the light” in himself, time and time again.

Guaranteed, you’ll learn something big here, from the Bobby Caldwell sample, to a crazy story surrounding Dilla, to some powerful opinion on Comm’s career at the time. It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 14 years…

Where does “The Light” fall in the all-time list of Hip-Hop love songs?

Related: Here’s a dope mixtape of some of Common’s best tracks from over the years (Mixtape)