This seems to be the mantra among hip hop’s elite, with everyone from 50 Cent to Jay-Z publishing autobiographies. Emcee and actor Common is the latest to add his life story to the fray, with his book One Day It’ll All Make Sense, which was released in September 2011.
In “Sense”, Common offers interesting anecdotes about his life that offer the reader deeper insight into “Common”, the artist and Rashid, the man. He recalls growing up in Chicago with producer and long time friend No I.D., reveals details about the rocky relationship between his parents, speaks proudly about his daughter and fatherhood and gives us a candid look at his past relationship with singer Erykah Badu. (He doesn’t seem to be all the way over her. I am convinced that Erykah has some sort of industrial strength voodoo coochie kryptonite in her pants. But I digress).
Common also attempts to shatter the image of him as a squeaky-clean “conscious” rapper by sharing stories about his scrapes with the law, minor substance abuse problems and a few less-than-honest things he has done to make a dollar. In the end though, nothing can mar his “nice guy” image, which is intensified by his gushing “all-we-need-is-love” ramblings in every chapter, and the frequent, glowing commentary from his adoring mom. (Mother appears in the book every 4 pages or so. They should have credited her with co-authoring the thing).
The overabundance of “uplifting” messages and interjections from Com’s mother get a little taxing at times, but there are some nuggets in the book that make the syrupy moments worth suffering through. For instance, Common’s account of what it was like living with producer phenom J. Dilla is poignant and sincere. Common gives us a sobering look at Dilla’s last days that is sure to move even the most cynical reader.
Surprisingly, Common’s rise in music isn’t the main focus of the book. Of course, he talks about his come-up as an artist, but his music career certainly isn’t the only topic covered in the story. Get ready to dive deep into his acting career, his family life and even his first kiss as you read along.
One Day It’ll All Make Sense is an open and honorable narrative that takes the high road and steers away from trivial tales of dirt and scandal. While at times Common is not the most engaging narrator, the honesty and insight make the book worth reading. I give it a 3/5.