Common: “That song meant a lot to me because that was me declaring like, ‘Man, this is what type of person I am.’ One important thing about being from Chicago to me is that I never wanted to hide anything. The way I was raised was like, if you got a big head, you got a big head. If you got a big nose, you got a big nose. If your daddy was cheating on your mother, he was cheating on your momma. You just didn’t hide things.
“‘Thisisme’ was like a stream of consciousness. I remember that sample I really used to love because it was so soulful. That song was my declaration of like, you gonna have to accept me for who I am because this is the type of person I am. I ain’t trying to be this and I ain’t trying to be that. I go through these things and I feel these emotions.
That song was my declaration of like, you gonna have to accept me for who I am because this is the type of person I am. I ain’t trying to be this and I ain’t trying to be that. It definitely was a self-discovery and proclamation of that. - Common
“It definitely was a self-discovery and proclamation of that. I always can reference ‘I love the way I am and can’t nobody out here change me.’ When you scratch that down, it’s like I know who I am and I’ll grow within that. You can inspire me and give me good advice, but I know the call of who I am and this is me.”
No I.D.: “We both came up with that chorus. I remember it was really hard to nail the beat—it took a lot of effort to make it work on the SP1200. It was an off-beat sample that I had to chop up in so many pieces to keep on beat. We borrowed the ‘Cooooommon’ part from ‘Take It EZ,’ because it was so catchy and people loved it. We knew we had to put it into a real chorus.
“Creating beats on those old machines was kinda like trying to build a wall with a hammer instead of an air nailer [Laughs]. It was crazy. But knowing that is what makes me good at what I do today, because I can always reference the creative things I had to do because of the lack of sample time and technology.
“A lot of people’s sampling today is not creative because they don’t know what it was like to sample when you didn’t have unlimited ability. So some of the tricks I had to use back then turned into an actual style of producing. We didn’t speed up records to make them sound sped up, we sped them up because the SP1200 had :10 seconds of sample time. So to maximize it you sped up the sample and sampled it.”
Rashid and his crew? Man, those motherfuckers were wild. They were from 87th Street. Some of the guys a little older than Rashid were straight gang-banging motherfuckers—dudes you didn’t want any problems with. I was just glad they were smiling when they saw me. - The Twilite Tone
The Twilite Tone: “Yeah he was silly on the first album, but on the strength—Rashid and his crew? Man, those motherfuckers were wild. They were from 87th Street. The cats where I was from in Hyde Park and Kenwood [High School], they didn’t like Rashid.
"But Rashid and them loved me, especially when I’d do parties over there. They would come to parties and always get into fights. Even though they were some preppy kids, and basketball players—they stayed fighting.
“And some of the guys a little older than Rashid were straight gang-banging motherfuckers—dudes you didn’t want any problems with. I was just glad they were smiling when they saw me [Laughs.]. These cats could really throw hands if they needed to.
"Him saying ‘This is me’ was saying ‘This is what I’m about.’ This is my crew. This is where I’m from. The song was real melancholy and real happy, and it gave him the perfect platform to articulate who he was as a person. Not necessarily who he was as a rapper, but who he was as a person.
“It was special because back then when people were talking about ‘Keeping it real,’ they’d talk about gang-banging and drug dealing and drive-bys. But Rashid was one of the first people to ‘Keep it real’ or show realness in another light—other than shooting and slanging crack. Yeah he talked about getting girls and getting into fights, but he also discussed many other things and I applaud him for that.”