H.E.R. – Meaning Behind “I Used To Know H.E.R.”

“I met this girl, when I was ten years old
And what I loved most she had so much soul
She was old school, when I was just a shorty” – I Used To Love H.E.R. (Common)

H.E.R.’s prelude to her forthcoming album opens up with quite a truthful piece of work. The singer, usually known as cool, calm and tempered, starts off all wild and out. Music industry in her trigger, she pinpoints the problems and the lack of honesty in her surrounding :

I think people gravitated towards my work and what I created because I was honest: and there’s quite a bit of honesty missing in current music” states H.E.R. in an interview with Galore.

H.E.R. & Lauryn Hill & Common: Paying Tribute to the Legends of the Past

In our previous review about her songs Focus, Every Kind Of Way and Avenue, we compared her craft to a modern day Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. And there she goes, blessing us on this August 3rd, 2018, with a tribute to the ex-member of the Fugees. Co-written with Ms Lauryn Hill, herself, this tribute to Lost Ones is one of the most meaningful songs in her project, titled I Used To Know Her. Subtle songwriting with unapologetic tone, quite like the woman who once rapped  Lost Ones. Her lyrics reflect also H.E.R.’s unconditional love for old school music from the 90’s. Not only singing but busting rhymes too, H.E.R. shows off how much Hip Hop she can be.

Hip Hop is a culture in its whole, yet people, nowadays, confuse its true meaning and use it as a trend. Therefore, by choosing I Used To Know H.E.R. as the title of her new EP, she may  denounce that real music and Hip Hop’s essence are slowly fading away behind current music trends.

That’s why, along with  Lost Souls,  we can understand that the acronym H.E.R. does not only stands for Having Everything Revealed, but also Hip Hop in its Essence is Real as Common used to rap, back in the days.

Actually, among such problems identified in the music industry, she addresses feminism, materialism, integrity, fame, leadership, fake friends, honesty and self-confidence.

Throughout her songwriting, lyrics recall songs from Alicia Keys, Kanye West and of course Lauryn Hill.

Young Women’s Worth

Confusing self-conscious with self-confidence
So you monogamous but body positive
Those pills you swallowing, for a following
What he got to offer? He don’t see the kids that he fatherinH.E.R. – Lost Souls

She picking all the wrong ones
And she’s looking for the right one in the wrong place
She think she want a baby and she do it with the wrong oneAlicia Keys – She Don’t Really Care

Fake Friends and Hypocrisy

I don’t click up ’cause you’re a kiss up – H.E.R. – Lost Souls
Some wan’ play young Lauryn like she dumb- Lauryn Hill – Lost Ones


A lost soul can’t lead the people, no – H.E.R. – Lost Souls
Gain the whole world for the price of your soul- Lauryn Hill – Lost Ones
Don’t let ’em taint your soul – J. Cole – 28th January


Man I promise, I’m so self-conscious – Kanye West – All Falls Down
I was overseas and seems that we the only people with dreams of material things
Confusing self-conscious with self-confidence, yeah
We lying to ourself that’s what the problem is, no – H.E.R. – Lost Souls

Real Values And Sanity

[…] Feminism not what you embodyin’
Confusing the celebrity with your integrity
You drinkin’ Hennessy for your therapy – H.E.R. – Lost Souls

Original, pure, untampered, a down sister Boy, I tell you, I miss her […]
Now she’s a gangsta rollin’ with gangsta bitches
Always smokin’ blunts and gettin’ drunk – Common – I Used To Love H.E.R.

Besides, Celebrity and Hennessy stand for the self-consciousness she’s singing about, whereas integrity and therapy stand for the actual self-confidence; nice lyrical symetry put together here.


Following with Against Me, there’s an ongoing spoken word that gives a vibe similar to the Pigment song.

“To my women with the utmost respect, intellect
We often forget and neglect intuition can see through illusive intent, listen to it
Just listen, just listen, oh
I found myself searching for a way to prevent, the detriment
And giving the impression that if you express to him what a woman needs, his comprehension is definite
But there’s a difference between understanding and honoring your word.” – Against Me


H.E.R. mentions again the word pressure. In Lost Souls, the pressure came from being a young lady in this industry, building up an image, with charisma and authenticity, with self-confidence and self-awareness: “It’s pressure to be an icon baby, Stressin’ to be an icon lately”.

And here she is, switching this type of pressure for the one that comes from being a young woman in a relationship:

“I guess, it’s too much pressure to be respectful and honest,
It’s too stressful to be keepin’ promises and I’m impatient.
I’m too high maintenance, way too many expectations when, we’re just dating
but I’m special, right?”

The kind of pressure to make you feel some kind of way…

Tracks that sound like what we’re used to appreciating from her two previous volumes keep following. Lyrics as simple as sincere, downtempo beats, mellow notes on the keyboard, reverse and slow motion effects on the synthesizer… everything is on to set the mood. Surprise featuring with Bryson Tiller blesses this new H.E.R. experience.

As I Am

You’re like the sweetest thing I know
Like my favorite Lauryn song

This EP opens up with a Lauryn Hill vibe, speaking on self-confidence, and closes with another Lauryn Hill vibe, feeling herself, with self-respect, and claiming loud and proud “You’d be a fool to not take me as I am”. This song is an inner-celebration and it’s a jam to enjoy for self.

Marcus Gon

Rédacteur en chef de Sounds So Beautiful, et auteur de l’œuvre Poetically Yours. ,Storytelling, ou l'art de conter une histoire, l'effort de véhiculer un message, l'exploit de communiquer une émotion, ou bien encore le miracle d'inspirer et d'influencer. Sounds So Beautiful, founded by writer and musician Marcus Gon, is the international media, specialized in the music industry, working closely with advertisers and public relations, and allowing emerging artists to develop their career. Poetically yours

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