“The Light” was a second single released by Common in support of his 4th album, Like Water for Chocolate. It’s produced by Jay Dee, before he took on the J Dilla alias. Jay employs an oft used drum break by the Detroit Emeralds and tweaks the snares and hi hats to make them sound extra crisp. The beat is centered around samples from from Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes”, in particular airy keyboards from the original’s prechorus. Stuttered piano keys sampled open the song and enter occasionally on the verses. The piano keys sound on the chorus where Jay scratches Caldwell’s vocals:
There are times, when you need someone/I will be by your side
There is a light that shines/Special for you and me
At the end of the song, Jay scratches other parts of Caldwell’s vocals as the song fades out.
A music video was made, costarring Erykah Badu and filled with shots of all sorts of tokens of affection.
Pictured at the top of the post is the 12′ cover. A remix was recorded for the soundtrack to Bamboozled and released as a single. Pictured below is the CD single cover:
Like the original, the remix is produced by Jay Dee. The remix features Erykah Badu singing the original chorus and adding backing vocals during the verses. The song begins with Badu singing the chorus to just handclaps for a few seconds before the beat drops. Jay switches up the drums, utilizing shakers and claps. The piano has been removed in favour of Kraftwerk sounding keyboards and a churning, jazzy guitar loop. The remix also adds a thick, live-sounding bass line and some ghostly sounding vocals that join in randomly on the choruses. Com re-recorded his vocals for the remix, reciting slightly different lyrics more slowly and solemnly.
I do prefer the original, but the remix is interesting for actually featuring the person the song is written about on it. It shows Jay Dee’s knack for completely re-imagining songs through remixing.