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One Day It'll All Make Sense

One Day It'll All Make Sense

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Common has earned a reputation in the hip hop world as a conscious artist by embracing themes of love and struggle in his songs, and by sharing his own search for knowledge with his listeners. His journey toward understanding—expressed in his music and now in his roles in film and television—is rooted in his relationship with a remarkable woman, his mother, Mahalia Ann Hines.

In One Day It’ll All Make Sense, Common holds nothing back. He tells what it was like for a boy with big dreams growing up on the South Side of Chicago. He reveals how he almost quit rapping after his first album, Can I Borrow a Dollar?, sold only two thousand copies. He recounts his rise to stardom, giving a behind-the-scenes look into the recording studios, concerts, movie sets, and after-parties of a hip-hop celebrity and movie star. He reflects on his controversial invitation to perform at the White House, a story that grabbed international headlines. And he talks about the challenges of balancing fame, love, and fatherhood.

One Day It’ll All Make Sense is a gripping memoir, both provocative and funny. Common shares never-before-told stories about his encounters with everyone from Tupac to Biggie, Ice Cube to Lauryn Hill, Barack Obama to Nelson Mandela. Drawing upon his own lyrics for inspiration, he invites the reader to go behind the spotlight to see him as he really is—not just as Common but as Lonnie Rashid Lynn.

Each chapter begins with a letter from Common addressed to an important person in his life—from his daughter to his close friend and collaborator Kanye West, from his former love Erykah Badu to you, the reader. Through it all, Common emerges as a man in full. Rapper. Actor. Activist. But also father, son, and friend. Common’s story offers a living example of how, no matter what you’ve gone through, one day it’ll all make sense.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451625875 | 
  • September 2011
List Price $28.99

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

Dear Reader:

When I was eighteen months old, my mother and I were kidnapped at gunpoint. My father held the gun.

At least that’s one side of the story. I first heard about it all from my aunt long after it happened, when I was already a grown man. I asked my mother, and she told it to me one way. I asked my father, and he told it to me another. The story I’ll tell you begins where my mother’s and my father’s tales come together and continues past them into the separate corners of my parents’ truths. Somehow in telling it, the story becomes my own. Somehow in telling it, it all... see more

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Reading Group Guide



Topics & Questions for Discussion

Common opens his autobiography with descriptions of his family from two polar perspectives. He wonders what others saw when they looked at his family. At this point in the autobiography, how do you perceive his family?

Writing seems to be freeing to Common. What does writing do for you? What do you do to free yourself?

In the letter to his mother, Common writes, “Thank you for being my mother before you became my best friend.” Do you sometimes feel that your parents don’t understand you? Do you want your parents to be your friend so that they can better understand you? Why or why not? Why do you think that parents can’t be their children’s friends?

Common states in the letter to his mother that the most important lesson he learned from her was to care for others. What has been the most important lesson that you have learned from one of your parents thus far?

Why do you think that Common was confused by his father’s absence when he was a child? Why do you think it was easier for him to be angry instead of confused? Has there ever been in time in your life when it was easier to be angry than confused?

When Rashid analyzed his father’s lack of parenting, he had to reflect on his own lack of parenting. He wrote, “It was never for lack of love, but for lack of fight. I haven't fought at certain times to be around her.&rdqu see more

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