Common is a GRAMMY, Emmy, and Oscar-winning artist, activist, actor, and two-time New York Times Bestselling author from Chicago, Illinois. In the latest installment of Vevo Footnotes, he exclusively took fans behind the scenes of the official music video for “The Light” single. The exclusive content is part of Vevo’s celebration to honor the historic 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop.
50th Anniversary of Hip Hop
“Thank you, Vevo, for always supporting my work. This is dope to be a part of Vevo Footnotes. This is the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop and man…Hip Hop has changed my life in ways that I can’t even fathom. I thank God for Hip Hop and thank y’all for celebrating ‘The Light’ and including it in Footnotes for the celebration of Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary. Peace.” – Common stated
In the episode, Common pays tribute to J Dilla, delves into how Erykah Badu influenced the song’s message about the different dimensions of love, and shares how, as a Southside Chicago dude, he initially felt uncomfortable about not wearing socks during the music video shoot. Additionally, Common discusses “The Light” as one of his greatest videos, his favorite line in the song, and how proud he is that so many people have told him they’ve played the song at their weddings.
A complete outline of “The Light” | Vevo Footnotes
00:24 – Sonically, I give all the respect, honor, and credit to J Dills because he produced the music. It was a sample from a beautiful Bobby Caldwell song called “Open Your Eyes.” Dilla played me the beat he made for it, and I was like, “Yo, this is incredible!”
00:45 – My songwriting is usually rooted in the truth, but I also use my imagination and creativity because I haven’t experienced everything in life. “The Light” was definitely inspired by Erykah Badu. It’s talking about the different dimensions of love and what partnership is.
01:17 – One of the most challenging things about shooting the video for me was just making sure I let go. I’m a Southside Chicago dude, so some of the stuff was like “Okay, I am in the space of artsiness?” And some of it was like “Okay, is this a little too poetic?” I had to make sure I was being true to myself. They told me, “We need you to wear no socks,” and I thought it was a little weird. I was in my artsy space and everything, but no socks? Don’t know if I was ready for the no-socks thing, but I did it.
01:48 – “The Light” was one of the greatest videos I have ever been a part of. I think director Nzingha Stewart’s vision was to make something simple, to express the couple’s intimacy and partnership. Sometimes, you don’t have to do a lot for it to be dope.
02:18 – The line I’m most proud of is – “It don’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine.” I’m proud of that because so many people have told me they’ve used this song at their weddings. I didn’t think of that line as being dope or whatever, I just thought it was a fun line to say. But I guess it could be kinda flirty and romantic and cool, so now that’s probably my favorite line.
02:48 – I wouldn’t change the video we made, but if I did a new version, I think it would have a new co-star. With all due respect, Erykah is a queen, but in an update, I would make it a short film, and have another love story for the song.
03:18 – I hadn’t finished the song yet, and I was laying the vocals, and that’s why I ended up saying “Digga-da, digga-da, digga-da, digga-digga-da-da, Yo’ I tell you the rest when I see you.” Later, I came up with a line for that part, but I tried to re-record it at least 20 times and it was never better than that take.
03:48 – I hope that “The Light” helped inspire more love and continues to encourage hip-hop in a way that we can always be authentic to who we are. I think that’s a beautiful thing about hip-hop. This was just one of those songs that allowed us as males to feel like we could express love in a pure way – say what we’re feeling and not be afraid. It took me a long time to understand that.
Vevo is the world’s leading music video network, connecting an ever-growing global audience to high-quality music video content for more than a decade. Founded by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment in 2009, Vevo offers fans worldwide a vast array of premium content to choose from, showcasing official music videos alongside a constantly developing lineup of live performances and innovative original programming. From top superstars to rising new talents, Vevo brings incomparable cross-promotional support to artists across the musical spectrum, at every stage of their careers.
Common – “The Light” single
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