Book Review: One Day It'll All Make Sense by Common

With anecdotes about "Retrospect For Life" and working and living with J Dilla, Common's memoir has some intimate moments, but sheds light on an emcee/actor with an unblemished reputation.

As far as rappers with unblemished reputations go, Common is right up there at the top. No baby-mama drama playing out on the gossip blogs, no tax liens (at least that we know of). About the only recent controversy (the beef with Ice Cube is older than the average Odd Future fan) that the man born Lonnie Rashid Lynn was involved in, wasn't even his fault at all. Fox News has an anti-rap tendency, so for Com to be invited to the White House to perform in front of the First Family in May didn't sit too well.  

Perhaps it was the infamy that publicity from the Fox News episode generated in the mainstream, or just coincidence, but a division of Harper Collins, a major publishing house, green-lighted Common's autobiography, the aptly titled One Day It'll All Make Sense. The tome reaches stores this week and sheds more light into the Chicago emcee-turned-actor who is quintessentially the definition of “conscious rapper.”

The book is relatively safe reading material – it's not exactly a tell-all along the lines of Superhead's – but it has its moments that capture Common's essence and voice. That essence is genuine – this writer can attest, having had the pleasure of interacting with Common on several occasions. Few celebrities, much less rappers, carry themselves with as much humility and genuineness as Rashid, or “Rash,” as you will be able to call him if your read his memoir, co-written by writer Adam Bradley.

The book begins a little slow, with Common in full "positive rapper" mode, using the word “love” seemingly in every other sentence, even while describing interaction with an absentee father, a 6'8" “Chicago hoop legend” with NBA aspirations. Family is at the center of Common's life and art – that's established early. Him mom, who appeared on the cover of the acclaimed One Day It'll All Make Sense album, appears in the book more extensively in the form of passages that intercede with Common's narrative. They offer a unique perspective, a different point-of-view, one that sometimes contradicts Com's.  

Common takes the reader into the streets and landmarks across Chicago's South Side with vivid detail, and provides ample anecdotes of his pre-stardom days, making music as part of CDR, a group he formed with a friend from middle school introduced as Dion – whose name Hip Hop fans know backwards, No I.D. We find out exactly how he landed his first deal at Relativity Records and how his pops had to intervene in order to get him out of it. He tells the story of how “Retrospect For Life,” a haunting masterpiece about abortion that features a chorus from Lauryn Hill, came to be. If that doesn't move a reader emotionally, Com's poignant words about the late Jay Dee certainly will (J Dilla came to live with Common in L.A. before Lupus took his life).

The deeper you delve into the book, the more you will feel that Common doesn't mind shattering the “conscious artist” stereotype that has shadowed his career. He is so candid at times it's refreshingly hilarious, with perhaps no better example of that as to when he describes the women that he began attracting as his fame grew. “They'd want to talk about spirituality and politics and literature,” Com writes. “We'd talk, but they'd still end up with their legs over their head.”

There isn't much to knock about One Day It'll All Makes Sense. It's a well-written narrative about an unassuming Hip Hop icon who has managed to keep a relatively low profile. Even for it's at-times saccharine positivity, it offers up juicy anecdotes and stories that will be of interest even to the Basketball Wives set.


  • Hagler

    I just finished Commons memoir. You know one of those books that every page is something new, this book was definitely a page turner for me. His word along with his mothers personal perspective gave the book depth. His mother and him reminds me of me when I was raising my son as a single mother. I have always wanted to see through the eyes of a black man. I have been a fan of Common since Take it EZ. I used to love the way his voice would make that going through puberty squeaky tone. Then when he came out with I Used To Love Her, that was my joint! That song still gets heavy rotation in my ride. There are many songs that Common has made that has stuck with me still. This man opened his mind to the public and shared so many intimate details of his life. To which some of us would have probably been ashamed. His positivity and spirituality is such an inspirational for me. His love for women and the love he shares for each female in his life made me feel so connected to him. I actually laughed at parts and the letters that made my heart sink. This is the connection I had while reading his book. I really enjoyed reading his memoir and didnt want it to end. We need more positive men around to encourage our men and future men that it is ok to love and be different, as well as feel shame. Its how you pick up the pieces and recover and succeed. Way to Go Common (Rashid) I hope to meet him one day

  • Leah

    Reading it now. Being from Chicago I love the references to spots I am familiar with! As a woman I feel like I am learning from Common's mother because she provides advice on how to raise a man. Good read.

  • Calvin

    got this on order. looking forward to reading it!

  • JG

    he needs to be in the studio working on the next "Be"

  • Talemwa Job

    the five best sequels don't u think ice cube misses

  • i read it!

    I pre-ordered the book for my nook and read it as soon as it downloaded a couple of days later. Pretty interesting. He seems like an alright guy.

  • Anonymous

    can't wait to read it. i love his work.

  • lh386

    Imma def check this bio out!

  • fabo45

    come on people let's support this man if Lil Wayne was talking about putting out a book this page will be filled with comments

  • Anonymous

    Wow Sojourner is a bonified hater. Common's two "Kanye produced" albums are considered classics by many. "Be" is the album that got me into hip hop and "Finding Forever" was a refreshing record at a time when ignorant dance music was taking over hip hop. I don't know whether you know about hip hop, but Common is one of the greats and deserving of more than the shitty post you just contributed.

  • Sojourner Troof

    sexy sexy sexy Q: how the fuck does a "great lyricist" need a ghost writer for his book? stupid ass. Gil-Scott Heron DEAD is greater than any imagined version of this asswipe's life-- he wrote his own books too. "Universal Mind Control" was only the most obvious example of his douchebaggery but the two mostly Kanye produced albums sucked dog dick too. That this shithead was clogging the Brooklyn sidewalk for a while only makes it worse. Yeah, he's a motherfucking "actor" now too-- another Woody Strode!

  • Anonymous

    Was just bumping Resurrection yesterday. Classic album.

  • barack obama 2012

    i hope commons next album goes multi-plat.

  • hiphop360

    This is definite read...need this book in my life..oh yea first bitches