Yo, we gotta start respectin life more why'all
You look at your brother man you gotta see yourself
Gotta see the God within him
Brothers gettin changed real quick over nothin
We losin too many of ours
Gotta recreate why'all
Yo, check it

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 want to, 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 integration 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..


Lyrics submitted by JPlay

"Retrospect for Life" as written by James Jason Poyser Ernest Dion Wilson

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Retrospect For Life song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentand yet he says let's have this boy: the general theme of the song seems to be we've made the mistake once, let's not make that same mistake again
    nawnscentson June 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbout the decisions that have to be made when a woman becomes pregnant unintentionally. First verse is about abortion, 2nd verse about deciding to keep the child. Great song
    JPlayon August 24, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the only example I've ever seen of a man taking responsibility and showing emotion about a subject as deep as abortion. Both of them share equal blame in the creation and death of that child, but Common steps up and says lets ensure our futures, lets make sure somethin like this doesn't happen again. Lets be responsible for and to ourselves. And he does all this smoothly without preaching. He has amazing storytelling skills-relating a life lesson without preaching that he has found the way and light and all should follow him. #1 rapper.
    Spanky03on March 04, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentVery good song about deciding and all that comes with such a situation . best of both worlds here with Lauryn Hill and common . i truely enjoy commons work .
    NlCOLEon May 03, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentive only just come across this song cant believe thers only 3 comments this song is so touching
    annmarie7on September 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAmazing song
    An aspect on how an intelligent, responsible, black man should respond to unplanned parenthood.
    NStevenson June 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI do love this because he isn't preaching. It isn't "Pro-Choice" or "Pro-Life." It sure as hell helped me through some hard times. In response to Spanky03 though...the second verse isn't about NOT having the fore-mentioned abortion because he says clearly, "Though his death was at our greed..." so they obviously went through with it.
    MissAtrocityon September 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti cried when i heard this... im using it for a school project, but i almost feel dirty for exposing something true and deep to kids who can be brutally shallow.
    devilsdaughteron February 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI usually love Common, and I don't have too much of a problem with this song because he's not being preachy, but "315 dollars ain't worth your soul"? No. Just... no.
    triptriptoadreamon May 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRelevant song
    corettapon January 27, 2014   Link

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