Common’s Video Shows The Difficulties Of Balancing Career & Parenthood

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Common’s music has reached places that other MCs have not always been willing to go. In a vast catalog, the Chicago, Illinois lyricist has written from intimate and vulnerable states of being that deal with expecting couples, intense seduction, and telling the stories of social revolutionaries whose message cannot always be disseminated.

While Common is one of Hip-Hop’s great storytellers, many of his tales are deeply personal. The book author writes about a spectrum of relationship dynamics. For years, the artist included his family members in interludes and at times, in his artwork. Family is at the center of “Show Me That You Love.” The latest look from August 30’s Let Love album shows the challenges Common’s faced behind the scenes of raising a daughter, Omoye, who is now an adult. The track features Jill Scott and Samora Pinderhughes.

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The song revisits a late-night text message that Comm’ Sense received from his daughter at one point in recent years. The exchange led to some sharp revelations that affected the MC. “She said I didn’t care / And I wasn’t there / When she was younger,” the text went on to say that the father-daughter summers together were not enough. Even though he was a provider, she needed more at times. Common admits that as his daughter was criticizing his parenting, his pride was wounded, causing him to feel hurt as well as angry. In defense, Common recalls his fond memories—car rides with his daughter being his A&R, calling out wack beats. He points to movies, sporting events attended, and lavish “cool-dad” gifts. “Truly I tried / She said ‘It’s the  things that you didn’t do, not what ya did.’” Putting his private conversation in public, Common proclaims, “Now my daughter is my teacher.

The video shows the evolution of the relationship over time. It is sentimental and evocative, with a dramatic display of the exchanges. It also includes some family footage from the late ’90s and early 2000s, some defining upward years in Common’s career. As his daughter graduates, Common becomes the student in receiving her words.

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Notably, the album version of this song plays for more than seven minutes. It gives Common’s daughter the last word and allows that message to sink in after the verse. Perhaps the instrumental music is Common processing that constructive criticism as he hopes to let actions speak louder than words moving forward.

During a decade where JAY-Z is praised for making a thematic album about self-awareness and maturity, Common gives another reminder that he’s one of Hip-Hop’s pioneering songwriters in many ways. Earlier this week, appearing on Sway In The Morning, Common alluded to plans to make his music into a Broadway production. He also spoke about maturing, the value of self-love, and breaking down barriers in relationships. The MC recently published a book, Let Love Have The Last Word.

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#BonusBeat: Common recently released a second version of another Let Love single, “Hercules”: