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Book Review: Common – One Day It’ll All Make Sense

Written by Tim Harvey on November 14, 2011

“Being a poet is a powerful thing”.-COMMON

This year, this writer embarked on a decade-and-a-half-in-the-making trip to Chicago. Since age 11 and since Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and the Chicago Bulls, I’ve been drawn to this beautiful, classic city. Since modern music greats like R. Kelly and Kanye West changed the tides of the Windy City music scene, my ear has been lent even more. Over the last decade, however, one man from this city of Illinois has drawn me in further … even before President Barack Obama. That man is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.

“The First Emotion I Ever Felt Was Love”.-COMMON

Otherwise known as Common. The rapper/actor has really shown us common sense, heart, love and inspiration and influence through his music and lyrics and other work. He has defined rap in the last decade with two positive, moving and barrier-breaking albums (the back-to-back Be and Finding Forever) that changed the game for the better like his groundbreaking classic I Used To Love H.E.R. Even if he questioned it to begin with, without a doubt the writing of a book was always the logical and meaningful next chapter for this hip hop spokesman. So here we have it: ‘One Day It’ll All Make Sense’ (named after one of his breakthrough albums), a true-to-its-name story of how everything in life comes together.

Be was a great time in my life as an artist. I felt like I had risen to another level of artistry and fame”.-COMMON

Common’s story is really one that you want to absorb in all its inspiration and love. It’s the kind of wonderful read that will take you on a journey all day as you strive to take it all in on one quiet Sunday coffee-shop-tour-of-your-town sitting. This book makes for the perfect Christmas present that you just want and need to come early. Legendary writer Maya Angelou is right: this is a “magnificent memoir” full of marvellous memories of an amazing life. One that took part in a million-man march and saw the election of the first black President. One voice of a race and generation that has seen and been a part of major change.

“What has kept me going through all the struggles I’ve faced in my life? The love of God. The love of family and friends. The love of hip-hop.”-COMMON

As you really turn the pages, this book will fill you with laughs, contagious enthusiasm and inspiration; you may also shed tears as Rash sheds light on his life, and those he’s lost, with beauty and poignancy. From his humble beginnings in Chicago to his world-wide success, chapter by chapter of his life is told by Common, and by his mother Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines in inspiring italics. From feeling the effects of the brutal murder of Emmett Till to meeting another Chi-town icon while being a ball-boy for the Chicago Bulls, to his success in music and movies, it’s all here. From his close brotherhoods with super producers Kanye West to the late, great, legendary J. Dilla (rest peacefully) to the acting advice from forefathers and icons Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman.

“Being an actor has helped me to articulate my feelings with greater clarity and precision”.-COMMON

Common even gives light to the loves in his life from singer Erykah Badu to tennis ace Serena Williams, as well as the places of the world that have had a profound effect on him from Cuba to China. This book also gives us some funny stories with Prince and insight into his triumph over the Fox News criticisms of his White House appearance. In this frank, honest but fair, and considered memoir, Rashid also shares his thoughts on his beef with West-Coast legend Ice Cube and his evaluation of his President, truthfully saying; “Whatever Obama has failed to do to satisfy certain people’s political agendas has been far exceeded by what he’s achieved on the level of our spirits”.

“A man knows who he is and has a sense of responsibility for himself, his family, and his community. A man believes in something and stands for it. He does his best to practice what he believes”.-COMMON

Each chapter (named after one of his aptly-titled, iconic songs including Love Is and Retrospect For Life) starts with a letter to someone in his life from his mother to Erykah, to his younger himself or his unborn song. This personal piece of writing makes for a book that is more than Common’s love for ‘h.e.r.’ or his silver-screen dreams. It’s a testimony to God, love, family and positivity: the cornerstones of his successful life. On one of his biggest hits The Corner this poetic rapper told us, “I wish I could give you this feeling”. Well it looks like he finally has. A feeling of life, love, friendship, family and artistic integrity. This is a book for anybody, hip hop head, movie buff or not, religious or spiritual, single or married with children. This is a book for anyone who believes that being good and gaining one’s definition is not a tale of fiction but a story we all write for ourselves. After all, that’s just common sense.

“My aim has been to inspire and raise consciousness”.-COMMON

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