He goes by the stage name "Common", however, compared to other hip-hop artists-turned actors...he is ironicallyun-common!
Born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. in Chicago 39 years ago, 'Common' was raised mostly by his mother, a PHD and educator who divorced his father, an ABA Basketball player when 'Common' was just six.
Never-the-less, both parents inspired him as a youth, with Dad Lonnie landing his son a job with the NBA's Chicago Bulls as a teenager.
Soon afterward 'Common' began to spawn his music career after forming a highschool rap trio, which actually opened for top acts like 'N.W.A.' and 'Big Daddy Kane'!
As a 20-year old Business Administration major at Florida A&M University, 'Common' debuted with the single "Take It EZ" followed by the album "Can I Borrow a Dollar?"...under the stage name "Common Sense".
He soon switched to the name 'Common' when a West Coast group already using "Common Sense" threatened to sue him.
'Common' eventually developed a devout underground following through the late 90's from his work with the 'Soulquarians' and his first major-label album "Like Water For Chocolate"...which launched him into the hip-hop mainstream.
Hit albums "Resurrection" and "One Day It Will All Make Sense" would follow, as 'Common teamed with veteran producer 'No I.D.' who was also the, then-mentor of 'Kanye West'.
'Common' won his first "Grammy" award in 2003 for 'Best R&B Song' "The Love Of My Life" (An Ode to Hip-Hop) with 'Erykah Badu'.
Another nomination came in 2006 for 'Best Rap Album' "Be", followed by 'Common's' 2nd "Grammy" for 'Best Duo Performance' for "Southside" featuring 'Kanye West". Several "B.E.T Hip Hop","Black Reel" "Image", and "MTV Video Music Awards" would follow.
Through all of this, 'Common Joined an elite fraternity of hip-hop artists who have initiated bright, acting careers by scoring substancial parts in top-notch films.
His resume includes roles in "Smokin Aces", "Street Kings", "American Gangster", "Wanted", "Terminator Salvation", and "Just Wright".
Also included in 'Common's'un-commoncareer is a massive fued with the West Coast rap group 'Westside Connection', whereby the lyrics from his song "I Used To Love H.E.R. openly criticized the West Coast's violent path being taken towards 'Gansta Wrap'.
Lyrics not-withstanding, I distinctly enjoyed this cut, comparing it to 'Common's' usual, original, clarity of melody and pleasant vocal style. However, this coast-to-coast war of lyric-slashing songs destructively dragged on for months until, finally...none other than 'Louis Farrakhan' managed to convince both parties to meet and make peace!
His most recent and un-commoncontroversy happened this past week when 'Common' was invited to the White House by our First Lady Michelle Obama to be part of a special poetry reading.
Objections sparked immediately from the New Jersey State Police Department who claim that lyrics from one of 'Common's' songs called "A Song For Assata" were delivered in poor taste.
The song is about 'Black Liberation Army' member Joanne Chesimard who was convicted of murdering a New Jersey State Trooper in 1977, and 'Common's' poetry claims she was wrongly accused while being framed and victimized by racism...thus sparking a nation-wide controversy.
Should the White House guest list include defenders of cop killers? Or not?
'Common' has stated very clearly state that "in no way should anyone question my full support for the police officers and troops that protect us everyday".
While President Obama did not support the questionable lyrics, he believes that some of negative reports coming out about 'Common' distort what 'Common' more broadly stands for.
The loudest protests seemed to come from Fox News, Sarah Palin, and Bill O'Reilly...who all basically felt 'Common' wasn't worthy of being a White House Guest based on this and other controversial material, inspiring one remark: "I guess Sarah Palin and Fox News doesn't like me".
TV host John Stewart, however, argued on the air with Bill O'reilly that other singers such as 'Bono' and 'Bob Dylan' sang about wrongly accused yet convicted murderers, also under the shingles of the White House...yet neither received objection or criticism.
I see where I could side with Stewart in so far as...the whole thing was over done! It will probably only enhance the already successful career of 'Common'...which should promise even more money, songs, film roles, endorsements, and controversial platforms and causes which he seems destined to include in future lyrics and songs. Stay tuned!
Thanks, and catch 'Common' on Streetwise Radio's "Big Hop" airing every evening at 6pm!