Album: Stakes Is High
Producer: De La Soul
Label: Tommy Boy

Riding high off the triumph of his second album, which had seen Common blossom from an overexcited, squeaky-voiced Chicago MC into a confident and accomplished wordsmith, he sounds quite at home trading bars with the high-brow rhyme masters Pos and Trugoy.

Peppering his spot with a variety of witty sports references—both virtual ("I'll whip anybody's ass at NBA Live) and Olympic ("rappers take a dive like Greg Louganis"), Com isn't afraid to offer a critique of his own past performances: "I used to love H.E.R., but now I bone her/At one point in time I thought I lost my direction/But then I got it back with the Resurrection."