Common’s real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. He was born on March 13, 1972, in Chicago, Illinois to educator Mahalia Ann Hines and basketball player Lonnie Lynn Sr. He went on to adopt the stage name Common Sense( Later shortened to Common) and became an underground rapper who had a reputation for thoughtful, progressive lyrics compared to other top-selling artists of the time.
Common often speaks powerfully about his childhood, growing up on Chicago’s north side. His parents split when he was a baby, but he maintained regular contact with his father, and his grandmother walked him to school.
Drugs and gangs plagued the neighborhoods close by, “it wasn’t like every day we were walking around dodging bullets,” Common says in an interview he did the Guardian.
Common made his album debut with Can I Borrow a Dollar? An artist known for often thoughtful, verbose lyricism and exploring varied sounds, his later albums included Like Water for Chocolate, Electric Circus, and Be.
After came out in an era when gangsta rap was the genre’s driving force. It depicted a less mature person, particularly on the misogynist track “Heidi Hoe”. After the album failed to achieve commercial success, he embarked on a journey of personal and spiritual growth. He read the Bible and the Qur’an, listened to jazz and worked on his craft as an MC. Then Two years later, he came back with an award winning second second album, “Resurrection”.
After being sued by a band over usage of his performance alias, Lynn simply began to go by Common, as seen with the release of 2000’s Like Water for Chocolate, a hit album which featured production from Questlove and the single “The Light,”
Outside of music
- Common also took a stab at acting landing major parts for big-screen projects, among them American Gangster (2006), Terminator Salvation (2009) and the romantic dramedy “Just Wright”, playing an injured basketball star opposite Queen Latifah and Paula Patton.
- He’s also co-starred in other films such as the animated Happy Feet Two (2011) and Disney’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012), in which he played a soccer coach. And other projects have included the drama LUV (2012), thriller/caper Now You See Me (2013) and Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma (2014), in which Common portrayed activist James Bevel.As well as other roles.
- He created the Common Ground Foundation, which focuses on empowering high-school students from underserved communities.
- Common had several roles in activism. He got involved in criminal justice reform initiatives. In 2017, he started to tour California prisons, talking to and performing for inmates. His efforts have been credited with helping pass a bill in California that allows young offenders sentenced to life without parole the opportunity to have their cases reheard.
- He also became an activist for the black lives matter movement and other racial protests and injustices in the black community that he helped to bring awareness to not just through activism but through his music as well.
Common also became an author publishing his memoir called “Let Love Have the Last Word” a New York Times best seller. Where he talks about his life as well as being molested as child among other things
- In 2003, Common won a Grammy for Best R&B Song for “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop),” a collaboration with Ericka Badu that was featured on the 2002 soundtrack Brown Sugar.
- He would receive another Grammy years later for the song “Southside.”
- Common and John Legend won a Golden Globe for the song “Glory” as well as an Academy Award, with both artists used their Oscar acceptance speeches to highlight contemporary issues that connect to the Civil Rights Movement.
- Best Selling Author
- The Artist was nominated for over 50 awards throughout the years from Grammys, Soul train music awards, Emmy awards, NAACP image awards and so much more