Common made headlines in May when conservatives criticized first Lady Michelle Obama for inviting him to the White House, but the Chicago rapper/actor — known for being a positive and politically conscious rapper, not the controversial thug some made him out to be — didn’t mind the extra attention.
If anything, he just wishes the timing could have been better.
His memoir, “One Day It'll All Make Sense,” hit stores September 13; his new TV drama, “Hell on Wheels” premiers on cable channel AMC November 6; and his album, “The Dreamer, The Believer,” is scheduled to be released November 22. He can’t help but wonder what could have been had his projects come out around the same time as the drama.
“Oh man, that would have been perfect,” said Common (real name Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr.) while hosting his Moët & Chandon-sponsored book release party at Roof in The Wit hotel Tuesday. “When that drama happened, we wished everything — from the book to ‘Hell on Wheels’ — was all out there. That was a time of heightened publicity for me and people were interested in what was going on with me.
“At the same time, I’m here trying to contribute quality art to the world. It doesn’t matter when the hype is going on as long as the art is still there and people are responding to it.”
In the book, the normally tight-lipped Common opens up for the first time about his past sexual experiences and girlfriends, including tennis star Serena Williams, R&B singer Erykah Badu and actress Taraji P. Henson.
Why is he just now speaking about his love life after all these years?
"I feel like this is the medium to do it," Common said. "When I'm in a relationship, I'm not going to parade that relationship. It's not for public consumption. It's my life. But when I'm talking about things that happened in the past, this is perfect for me.
"The stories I'm telling are not only to entertain, but they're there to inspire and to relate to and to say, 'Man, this guy is not perfect, this guy been through some of the same things I've been through and he just decided to make some choices and is doing well. But he's still a work in progress.