“As Common, I’ve often been classified as a conscious artist. I take that as a compliment…The only problem with being labeled a conscious artist is that people assume that’s all you are, that you’re not also a complex and flawed individual…I made a conscious decision early in my career to focus on growth and positivity…In my own life, I still deal with the negativity sometimes, but I don’t choose to reflect that in the art I put out into the world. I strive to be a conscious artist because I strive to be a balanced human being on my path towards the light.” –Excerpted from ONE DAY IT’LL ALL MAKE SENSE
When Common entered the scene in 1992 with his album, Can I Borrow a Dollar?, the new, mostly underground artist, found himself thrust into a music environment where game-changing albums such as Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, Ice Cube’s The Predator, and Eric B. & Rakim’s Don’t Sweat The Technique blazed trails in hip hop. It would have been easy for Common to disappear into the history books of hip hop like many other artists of that time. After all, the competition was stiff. Yet, Common still stands today, not only as an accomplished and award-winning recording artist but also as a leading man who has co-starred alongside such thespians as Denzel Washington (American Gangster), Queen Latifah (Just Wright), Christian Bale (Terminator Salvation), Ray Liotta (Smokin Aces), Steve Carrell, Tina Fey and Mark Wahlburg (Date Night).
Despite his vast accomplishments as an artist, however, very little is actually known about Lonnie Rashid Lynn, the man. That’s all about to change with the publication of ONE DAY IT’LL ALL MAKE SENSE (Atria Books; September 2011; $25). In this deeply personal, introspective memoir, Common unveils himself, layer by layer, from his childhood on the streets of the South Side of Chicago; to grappling with the decision to leave college, disappointing his mother, and pursuing a career in hip hop; to emerging as a talented recording artist faced with all the trappings of fame and success but working hard to remain true to himself and the people who’d supported him along the way. “People who know me as Common might find it hard to believe some of the things that made me Rashid,” says Common. “That’s partly why I’ve written this book, so that I can show myself as a man in full. That means telling some tough truths, revealing my faults and vulnerabilities. But it also means showing the true strength of my character.”
Common’s journey is by no means a rags-to-riches story. The emotional and spiritual place where Common is today came about as a result of witnessing the tragic losses of loved ones to addiction and the very cold, hard streets of the South Side of Chicago that were once his stomping grounds; making mistakes for which he dealt with the consequences but also learned from them; and loving hard and dealing with the end of failed relationships.
Common’s memoir also highlights the fact that his mother – his friend, confidante, and moral compass – very much contributed to his evolution as a man. Readers will also absorb her words and perspectives about her son throughout the book, which makes for an incredibly balanced and honest look at the life of Lonnie Rashid Lynn. She writes: “By the time he started getting exposed to street things, he had a foundation…It was also letting him have his freedom and make his mistakes…I think about it like little lion cubs. The mother protects them until they’re old enough. But if you don’t put them in the wilderness they’ll never survive by themselves.”
Compiled with open letters to loved ones, both living and those who’ve passed on, peppered with lyrics from some of Common’s songs throughout his career and his mother’s unflinching insight, ONE DAY IT’LL ALL MAKE SENSE challenges the reader to look beyond the celebrity and understand fully the man behind the spotlight. He also writes openly about his relationships with the women who have been a part of his life – Kim, the mother of his daughter, Omoye; singer Erykah Badu; and Academy Award nominated actress Taraji P. Henson – and how each played a role in his emotional growth as a man. “Having a daughter has made me to understand people better – particularly women. I began to consider and question how any woman I was dealing with might have been raised. Did she have her father in her life? What was she missing? What helped her move forward? Thinking about all that makes me want to make sure that I give all I can to my daughter,” writes Common.
Make no mistake, ONE DAY IT’LL ALL MAKE SENSE is a no-holds-barred coming-of-age memoir, providing the reader with a window seat into the life and world of an artist who is not only unafraid to tell the truth, but he faces his truths in all of its guts and glory. In fact, it is a book that everyone – boy or girl, man or woman – should read.
Common will be touring with his new book and you can meet him in the following cities and locations:
LOS ANGELES PUBLIC LIBRARY
MARK TAPER AUDITORIUM
Conversation with Kevin Frazier
630 West Fifth Street
LOS ANGELES, LA
Barnes & Noble—DePaul
1 E. Jackson Boulevard
BALTIMORE BOOK FESTIVAL
Conversation with Dr. Eric Dyson
600 North Charles Street