In 1992, Common bounced on the scene with his album, Can I Borrow a Dollar? It sold only a few thousand copies and he was this close to quitting the game.
After a storied career of struggle and stardom, the dapper Chicagoan has made his mark in the studio and on the big screen with movies such as American Gangster, Just Wright and Smoking Aces.
You can add ‘author,’ to his list of accomplishments, as Common’s new memoir, ‘One Day It`ll All Make Sense,’ is on book shelves now.
Here, Common talks to rolling out about the man behind the fame.
In the foreword, your mom Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines, wrote that she wasn’t a fan of you pursuing rapping as a job. How did you change her mind?
I think at a certain point, my focus was not about changing her mind, it was, this is my dream, this is what I dreamed of for me, so I have to pursue that dream and live that dream.
I love my mother, I respect her, but this is my dream so I have to go for it. Honestly, I think that she just saw that I really loved it and saw what my music was starting to evolve into and she just gradually changed her perspective on it. She saw that this music was of substance and had something to say.
You write about the inner beauty of women and how you’re compelled to look for the woman who may be overlooked. Why?
I feel that compassion for people who sometimes do get overlooked, because I know what it’s like to get overlooked, to not be recognized and to be invisible sometimes. I’m the type of person who wants to encourage someone like that to feel good about herself.
What’s different about your life now that you’ve put everything about yourself in this book—even ‘the dirt’ under your fingernails so to speak? How does it feel to be so wide open?
To a certain extent, a lot of [things in the book] are things that happened in my life. I’m not ashamed of the things that have happened in my life. I’m not ashamed that I was scared at one point. I’m not ashamed that I was heartbroken at one point. I’m not ashamed that I was fighting at one point, because those are the things that I went through and experienced, and that’s what life is about. I feel good, even though I had a spurt for a second when I said, ‘man I put a lot of stuff out there.’
You reveal how you almost quit rapping after your album, Can I Borrow a Dollar, only moved 2,000 units. What advice do you have for young Black men who are facing challenges now?
You have to believe in what you’re doing. You gotta’ know that everything that you want in life, that may get good for you, you can have. It’s gonna take some work, and gonna be some tough times, you’ve gotta experience it and keep focused on what you really want out of it and what your goal is. Without struggle, there is no progress. See your own plan and what you want to be, and know that the struggle will make you appreciate it more.
What message do you have for women?
Love yourself. You are the closest thing to God to us because you bring life into the world. Tell yourself, ‘I love myself enough, contrary to everything that is going on. I love myself enough to respect myself and I know how I should be treated as a woman, with respect and dignity.’ Start loving yourself and spread that love to other sisters as well.
See Common: Rita Coburn Whack owner of RCW Media Productions, Inc., collaborated with Macy’s to put together a book signing for Common on the lower level of the State Street Store (in Chicago), on Tuesday September 20th, from 12noon until 2 p.m. rolling out is a media sponsor of this event.