Sonic Example 2 – I Used to Love H.E.R.

“I Used to Love H.E.R.’ is a song by hip hop legend Common Sense released back in 1994. The song was produced and arranged by No I.D. The beat and accompanying musical arrangement uses a sample from the Jazz song “The Changing World” by George Benson. Benson’s song was recorded using all analog recordings before digital recording was prevalent in the music industry. The recording includes a significant amount of background noise. Common’s “I used to love H.E.R.” was recorded completely digitally, but producer No I.D. decided to leave some of that background noise in the song. 

 The song’s lyrics tell a first person story about Common’s love for a female who over time changes for the worse. The female in the song is actually an analogy of hip hop music and the changes it went through through the late 80’s and early 90’s. Hip Hop during that time period went from mostly underground music with little commercial or financial appeal to music made for the masses. It has continued in this fashion as one of the more profitable music genres in the world. 

This change is analogous of the move from analog to digital music. Hip Hop went from a period of including noise to removing all noise and only featuring the signals that are profitable by large record corporations. Krukowski’s idea of what has changed in the world as we have gone from analog to digital applies to the change in Hip Hip, even though Hip Hop has always been a digitally recorded style of music. It has gone from its pure unadulterated form, to a commercially influenced form which waters it down by removing all the noise, or authenticity.