Personification is a technique that has given hip hop some of its most inventive, intelligent songs. (Wikipedia: “a figure of speech that gives an inanimate object or abstract idea human traits and qualities, such as emotions, desires, sensations, physical gestures and speech.”) You could damn near make an entire outstanding mixtape out of songs that took aspects of the urban experience and literally gave them a voice, so that is precisely what I have put together for you, the customer. Enjoy.
1. Common Sense- I Used to Love H.E.R.: From what I could find and recall, Personification Rap was introduced in 1994 through a trio of brilliant, classic songs. Common’s “I Used to love H.E.R.” (The strained acronym stands for Hip Hop in its Essence and Real) off Resurrection was the most famous, imagining Hip Hop as a woman gone astray. The song was a hit single that introduced Common into the collective national consciousness and started a beef with West Coast gangsta rapper Ice Cube. This song has inspired several shitty retreads of the conceit that aren’t worth posting here, not to mention the film Brown Sugar, the worst thing ever made in relation to Hip Hop.
2. Jeru The Damaja- Can’t Stop the Prophet:
3. Organized Konfusion- Stray Bullet: This song off Prince Po and Pharoah Monch’s 94 classic Stress: The Extinction Agenda is “I Used to Love H.E.R.”s gangster, less famous cousin. But as far as Personification Rap is concerned, “Stray Bullet” was more influential. The beat sounds familiar because it samples Donald Byrd’s “Wind Parade”, (with glimpses of “Nautilus”) which was also used by Black Moon to make “Buck ‘em Down”, a pretty good song you may have heard before. Told from the point of view of a bullet, the song would go on to inspire two better known hip hop gunplay classics.
4. Nas- I Gave You Power: Call me a tasteless 80s baby raised on Scorsese and