Many 90s rappers followed the trend of writing songs with hip hop as a metaphor, using a female to represent the genre, made popular by Common’s 1994 classic “I Used to Love H.E.R.” In 2001, NYC’s own Cormega followed the same path on “American Beauty,” one of his most popular pieces of work from his debut* album The Realness. The song brings hip hop to life in the form of a story about a female, on the strength of a killer Southside Movement sample which is mostly known by hip hop heads from Scarface’s “P D Roll ‘Em.”
On “American Beauty,” Cormega sampled the strings and put together a self-produced classic:
* Side note: Cormega’s official debut album stands as The Realness (2001), but it was really supposed to be The Testament, which he finished recording in 1998 but was unable to obtain its masters for years. The Testament was the first album Cormega ever put together, despite releasing as his fourth record in 2004.