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February is African American Heritage Month and WERS AT NIGHT is honoring one artist or one song every day this month that helped contribute to social consciousness, political responsibility, or civil rights. At WERS, we believe that these songs are always bigger than just entertainment; music can be used to drive a movement or even motivate a nation.
“The Corner” was an influential hip-hop song written by the socially-conscious rapper, Common. The song was produced by Kanye West in 2005 and also features him in the chorus because both Common and Kanye are Chicago natives. The lyrics of the song focus on the lifestyle found in the poor neighborhoods in Chicago. Common is one of the most real rappers in the industry – his flow comes out more like poetry rather than song lyrics. He raps straight from his heart about his memories growing up and it is apparent in “The Corner.” The song starts off with the line, “Memories on the corners with the fo’s and the mo’s.” The “fo’s” is short for the Four Corner Hustlers while the “mo’s” refer to the Almighty Black P. Stone Nation, alliance gangs under the People Nation.
Also featured on “The Corner” are The Last Poets, a group of musicians that formed in the 1960’s that focused on the Black Nationalist Movement and American Civil Rights. In a interview with Rapgenius.com, Common said that he found a lot of his inspiration for his style from the Last Poets and was extremely excited to work with his idols. The Last Poets’ spoken word verses within the song are what really shine through. “The corner was our magic, our music, our politics; Fires raised as tribal dances and war cries broke out on different corners; Power to the people; Black power; Black is beautiful.”
“The Corner” is one of Common’s most impressive songs of his career and is one of the best off of his sixth album Be. He is aware how important rap music is to the African American culture and even refers to it as the “black man’s CNN.”