Last week, a fan tweeted Common and asked him what his new book was about. His reply was succinct even by Twitter standards: "Love. Manhood. Chicago."
"Those words really, like, define the book," the Chicago rapper and actor told the Sun-Times in an interview days later. "It's about the evolution of a young man growing into manhood. It's about love relationships, not only on a romantic level but love for the art you're doing, music and acting, love for my mother, my daughter.
"And, of course, Chicago. It's not only the backdrop on the cover, it's the backdrop of my life."
The book is One Day It'll All Make Sense (Atria, $25, 297 pages), a memoir by Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., a.k.a. Common (and before that, Common Sense). Common, 39, has released eight rap albums -- with a new one, "The Dreamer, the Believer" coming in November -- and developed a reputation as a "conscious" hip-hop artist.
That means his autobiography is full of deep thoughts, or what passes for them, and takes an arty approach to the genre. He opens each chapter with a letter to a different person, including Emmett Till, Common's estranged father, his aborted child, various friends, even music itself ("Dear Hip Hop: I used to love u").