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
Common got an abortion, obviously, which is pretty much killing a whats going to be a living life if not already one. Common feels the pain and sincerely says sorry and elaborates since he’ve came to the realization that the baby would have been somebody in the world and like all other human beings it would breath, walk, and cry.
A lot of young couples do not realize the financial burden of having a child. Here’s something to think about. You go to college to make money, then you borrow loans to pay for your college fees. Any middle class person shouldn’t and cant afford it and usually even if your parents do pay and borrow at the time, its your obligation to pay it off after you’re complete with college. Now not only are you still repaying college loans, rent and stuff, but you are also dealing with a child which thoroughly increases expenses. Most people owe money and are in debt. Also Common mentions not being mentally prepared as with the financial problems it is also a huge burden on your emotions to be responsible for a living child. Regardless of financial problems and emotions, Common at the end of the verse regrets it and wishes he had sacrificed instead of ending a life.
There’s also some possible wordplay here: “My life for you I woulda had to leave/Instead I led you to death.” It shows the contrast between the fact that, while he would’ve had to leave the life he was living to take care of the child, in reality it would’ve been a lesser price than leading the child to death.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit "Retrospect for Life" by Common (Ft. Lauryn Hill) Lyrics and leave a comment on the lyrics box