Common Talks New Memoir, Upcoming Acting Roles and Serena Williams
Rapper said it was hard to cope after his break up with Erykah Badu and Taraji P. Henson
We know Grammy award winner Common as a rapper with a conscience. He's even made a smooth transition into acting with roles in several movies including “American Gangster,” “Smokin’ Aces,” and “Just Wright." Now at the age of 39, he reveals the joy and pain of his personal and professional life in his memoir One Day It’ll All Make Sense named after his 1997 LP.
In the book, Common shares being kidnapped with his mother at the age of eighteen months by his father and reflects on his breakups with Erykah Badu and Taraji P. Henson. He also talks about being arrested and having a drinking problem while growing up in Chicago. And he dishes on the real story behind the greatest controversy of his life, when he was viciously attacked by politicians and the media for being invited by his friend, President Barack Obama, to perform poetry for children earlier this year at The White House. (Read an excerpt from his critically acclaimed memoir.)
Common also admits he’s a mama’s boy, and his mother, Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines, writes commentary about him throughout the book. Common and his mother sat down with Loop 21 to discuss the new book, his former girlfriend Serena Williams as well as his upcoming LP.
Loop 21: Is the book named after the album released in 1997 or does that phrase “One Day It’ll All Make Sense” have a deeper meaning for your life?
Common: I named the book after that CD because when I recorded that album I came to believe that I can influence people in a positive direction with my words and music. That CD cover features a photo of me with my mother and her words are featured throughout this book. With that album I wanted to move people and I want to move people with this book. In the book I mention how growing up I wanted to be a star. Now I see the power stars have to make a positive influence on society. As a child I wanted to be Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan. I loved being a ball boy for the Chicago Bulls and becoming friends with Jordan, but I changed direction from basketball to music when I suffered an injury. However I did fulfill my basketball fantasy when I played with several NBA stars in “Just Wright” and also fulfilled my dream of being a leading man in a film.
Loop 21: Dr. Hines, you wrote the foreword and your comments about your son are featured throughout the book. How has he grown since he was a child?
Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines: I gave him experiences when he was young, but he has always been his own person. I could sense he was a writer as a child so I gave him a notebook and a pen. Since then his spiritual transition has gone way beyond my years. I like how he uses his career as an entertainer to inspire people.
Common: I am a mama’s boy. You have to be grateful for mom’s love. Love mom like no other.
Loop 21: Why release a memoir in what seems like the height of your life?
Common: My manager had the idea to do this book, but I wasn’t into doing a book so early in my life. I talked with my family and reminisced about good times and bad times. We laughed and even cried a little. Then I realized people could benefit from me sharing my life. Plus I always loved to write.
Loop 21: What can we expect from your next album The Dreamer, The Believer?
Common: I worked with Producer No ID. We recorded the entire album at his studio in LA. We created a positive spirit and energy; music that will inspire like I was inspired by classic hip hop in the 90s. It captures the raw essence of how I’ve grown since Universal Mind Control in 2008. "Ghetto Dreams" with Nas was the first song I recorded. The track sounded raw and new at the same time. Nas is my favorite MC so I am blessed.
Loop 21: What acting roles are coming up for you?
Common: I play a freed slave in the new AMC TV series Hell On Wheels set in 1965 about the building of the transcontinental railroad. I appear in Learning Uncle Vincent, a story about a 13-year-old boy and his uncle starring Danny Glover, Megan Good, Dennis Haysbert and Charles S. Dutton. I am also in an upcoming movie called "The Odd Life of Timothy Green” starring Jennifer Garner.
An interesting aspect of doing movies is that often the actors don’t know who I am. I get a kick out of gaining new ground in the acting world and introducing myself into different facets of life. When I did “Wanted,” Angelina Jolie did not know who I was. She called Wyclef Jean and he told her I was cool. She turned out to be one of the coolest and most real people I have ever met. Brad Pitt came by the set and all three of us raced go-karts. They even came to Chicago and hung out with my friends.
Loop 21: You reveal it was very difficult for you to cope with breaking up with Erykah Badu and also Taraji P. Henson. You write that you have truly loved four women in your life including your daughter’s mother Kim and Serena Williams. What attracted you to Serena?
Common: I like women who are strong yet soft at the same time. She has that combination, but I have to keep some things sacred so I can’t reveal everything.
Loop 21: You say in the book that you would like to get married. What is the status of your love life now?
Common: I am single and chillin'.
One Day It’ll All Make Sense is now in bookstores and on readers nationally. Common's upcoming LP The Dreamer, The Believer will be released on Nov. 22.