Common could be the most thoughtful, lyrically skilled rapper you've never heard of. His third album, One Day It'll All Make Sense, is a 17-track assortment of meditations and musings; over minimalist drumbeats, Common's incisive observations offer a contrast to the materialism drowning today's hip-hop. "Retrospect for Life," featuring the Fugees' Lauryn Hill, is the centerpiece of the album: In an autobiographical letter to an unborn child, Common delicately weighs abortion vs. birth and opts for the latter. It's Common's ability to take pain and infuse it with meaning and purpose that makes One Day It'll All Make Sense the kind of morality tale rap so desperately needs.
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