Dusting Off… Common’s One Day It’ll All Make Sense
What Is It?
By now, Common has made a name for himself in both the rap and acting worlds: he has released ten albums, including hits such as Universal Mind Control, which earned the Chicago rapper a Grammy in 2008 for Best Rap Album. He has also appeared in a number of films including American Gangster and Terminator Salvation.
Ever since his major label debut Like Water For Chocolate, produced by a number of hip-hop luminaries including DJ Premier and the late, great J Dilla, Common has been steadily growing in the public consciousness. But the album we’re interested in is the one that came before that…
His last on the Relativity Records label, and his first under the name Common after he dropped the ‘Common Sense’ moniker following a legal wrangle with a U.S. rock outfit of the same name, his third full-length album One Day It’ll All Make Sense cemented his growing reputation and attracted enough attention to bag the rapper a new record deal with MCA.
What’s it like?
Common is very much from the school of ‘conscious rap’ that began with the likes of De La Soul and, in response to criticism about his authenticity as an artist, the album makes a point of eschewing any ‘gangsta’ talk - instead, the record is a soulful and, at times, intensely personal album, covering themes such as the birth of his first child - an event which put the recording on hold for a year.
The majority of the production duties are handled by Chicago hip-hop legend and Kanye West mentor No I.D., although there are also production credits for The Roots and Lauryn Hill, whose vocals appear on the track ‘Retrospect for Life’. No I.D’s jazz-sampling beats and lush instrumentation complement Common’s lyrics perfectly, but the album isn’t all sweet soul; it has its raucous moments too, particularly the Grand Wizard Theodore-influenced ‘Gettin’ Down at the Amphitheater’.
The album also features early career appearances from rapper Cannibus and ex-Goodie Mob member turned Danger Mouse collaborator Cee-Lo Green, as well as guest vocal slots from Q-Tip, Black Thought and Erykah Badu.
The record also features the first of the recurring ‘Pop’s Raps’, where Common’s dad rambles on a variety of subjects, which are often touching and illuminating.
Why should I revisit?
1997’s One Day It’ll All Make Sense was the last album No I.D. & Common worked together before finally reuniting in 2011 for The Dreamer/The Believer, with No I.D. moving on to become an executive at Def Jam. In the fourteen years in between, Common released another five albums and established himself as one of the leading voices in the Chicago hip-hop scene, but although his previous two records had earned him much acclaim, this is the album where his style really comes together for the first time. If you got into Common a little later, this little gem might have slipped under your radar, so it’s well worth a a dusting off.
Who will enjoy it?
Fans of acts like De La Soul, Slum Village, Gang Starr and KRS-ONE should find a lot to enjoy on this record, as will anyone who likes their hip-hop with a little more soul…