“This Is Me” – Common Feature (XXL Magazine, October 2011)

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Throughout his career, Common has always been a thought-provoking MC. Plenty of his own thoughts now fill the pages of his memoir, One Day It’ll All Make Sense (Atria Books), which hit stores on September 13 and is named after his third album. The veteran Chicago rapper, who is prepping his next LP, The Dreamer, The Believer, for a November 22 release, talked to XXL about why he’s sharing his story now and how writing a book differs from making music.

Why the book now, at this point in your career and life?
There’s a lot of things I experienced that I wanted to capture now, where I’m not too far removed from it and I still feel like I can truly take what happened and capture that emotion.

In your book, you talk about almost quitting rap when your first album didn’t sell well. How did you deal with that time in your life?
I was going back and forth. When you’re dealing with disappointment, you feel that at first. Then you’ve got to take the talent and be like… “All right, I’m going to show you I’m the best. I’m going to show you I can sell records.” S0 my thing was, I’m about to show that I’m dope and that I can touch a bigger audience than I touched with my first album.

Is writing a book like making an album?
It’s a lot different. When you make a song, you’re usually dealing with something that’s present, a future dream, and sometimes you pull things from the past, obviously. I can talk about street things, but I’m not on the street now. It’s a lot more when you’re writing a book. You have to dig into the psychology of many more things and elaborate more in a book than you would with lyrics.

Did you have a chance to elaborate on your music in the memoir?
I’m more specific—like. when I learned this lesson in love. I’m on my way to do Rock the Bells, and I’m going to do “Love Is,” off the Be album, and I was listening, like, Man, I was talking about the lessons I learned in a relationship. about loving yourself. I thought about that, but in the book, I elaborate more on what that means and what loving yourself would be about.

Have you read the books of your peers. like 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Prodigy?
I never had a chance to read them. I think Jay~Z’s was really fresh, and I heard the book was incredible. I’m trying to figure out if I’m going to read my book. [Laughs] I want people to read it. but it’s funny reading about yourself. —William E. Ketchum III