Common Retrospect of Life RSIEH

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It’s 1997 and Common just dropped his third album in September. The wildest, strangest and even now coolest shit a label, Relativity Records, has ever done was truly let One Day It’ll All Make Sense be presented the way it was meant to be. The first single was “Retrospect Of Life”. Now you can argue and say the label did the to capitalize on the success of Lauyrn Hill and you might be right, but that move along with the commercials that were coming on BET let you know the kind of album it was going to be. The single however before I had even seen the video made its rounds on HOV (Hampton University Radio) during the slow jam portion of the station Monday thru Thursday. I had to get it when the album dropped just for that single alone.

 The song is about the mixed feeling of joy and fear of being a father and contemplating having his girl at the time get an abortion. This topic was never placed on a track like this before at all. We hear the be a farther, glad to be a farther songs but to hear the thoughts that I know I’ve heard many times from homies be that articulates and so heartfelt on a record made me respect Common even more. The single like the album didn’t get much love not cause it was bad but because Diddy and the Jiggy movement really had the game on lock. I do know for 2 weeks Rap City had “Retrospect Of Life” was the number 1 video. This is a true classic to anyone who does remember it, this song alone showed me nothing is off topic as an MC goes. Again to put your personal feelings about such a decision about your soon to be daughter on an album and then it becomes a single was groundbreaking for Hip Hop, it was truly conscience Hip Hop

Knowin you the best part of life do I have the right to take yours
Cause I created you irresponsibly
Subconciously knowin the act I was a part of
The start of somethin, I’m not ready to bring into the world
Had myself believin I was sterile
I look into mother’s stomach, wonder if you are a boy or a girl
Turnin this woman’s womb into a tomb
But she and I agree, a seed we don’t need
You would’ve been much more than a mouth to feed
But someone, I woulda fed this information I read
to someone, my life for you I woulda had to leave
Instead I lead you to death
I’m sorry for takin your first breath, first step, and first cry
But I wasn’t prepared mentally nor financially
Havin a child shouldn’t have to bring out the man in me
Plus I wanted you to be raised within a family
I don’t wanna, go through the drama of havin a baby’s momma
Weekend visits and buyin J’s ain’t gon’ make me a father
For a while bearing a child is somethin I never wanted to do
For me to live forever I can only do that through you
Nerve I got to talk about them niggaz with a gun
Must have really thought I was God to take the life of my son
I could have sacrificed goin out
To think my homies who did it I used to joke about, from now on
I’ma use self control instead of birth control
Cause $315 ain’t worth your soul
$315 ain’t worth your soul
$315 ain’t worth it

[Lauryn Hill (two layers of vocals, same words)]
I, never dreamed you’d leave, in summer
You said you would be here when it rained
[Common] Yo
Why didn’t you stay

Seeing you as a present and a gift in itself
You had our child in you, I probably never feel what you felt
But you dealt with it like the strong black woman you are
Through our trials and tribulations, child’s elimination
An intergration of thoughts I feel about the situation
Back and forth my feelings was pacin
Happy deep down but not joyed enough to have it
But even that’s a lie in less than two weeks, we was back at it
Is this unprotected love or safe to say it’s lust
Bustin, more than the sweat in somebody you trust
Or is it that we don’t trust each other enough
And believe, havin this child’ll make us have to stay together
Girl I want you in my life cause you have made it better
Thinkin we all in love cause we can spend a day together
We talkin spendin the rest of our lives
It’s too many black women that can say they mothers
but can’t say that they wives
I wouldn’t chose any other to mother my understanding
But I want our Parenthood to come from Planning
It’s so much in my life that’s undone
We gotta see eye to eye, about family, before we can become one
If you had decided to have it the situation I wouldn’t run from
But I’m walkin, findin myself in my God
So I can, discipline my son with my writin
Not have a judge tellin me how and when to raise my seed
Though his death was at our greed, with no one else to blame
I had a book of Afrikan names, case our minds changed
You say your period hasn’t came, and lately I’ve been sleepy
So quit smokin the weed and the beadies and let’s have this boy

[Lauryn Hill]
I, never dreamed you’d leave in summer
You said you would be here when it rained
You said you would be here when it rained
Ohh I, never dreamed you’d leave in summer
Now the situation’s made things change
Things change
Why, didn’t you stay
Why didn’t you stay…
I, never dreamed you’d leave, in summer
In summer
You said you would be here when, it rained
When it rained, it rained
Ohhhohh I, never dreamed, you’d leave in summer
You said you wouldn’t leave
Now the situation’s made things change
Things change, why didn’t you stay?
Stay, stay stay stay stay stay stay
Mmmmm, stayyy
Uh-uh
Ohh why didn’t you stay..

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