Facts about Common
Common is the stage name of Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., a Grammy-winning rapper who won an Oscar for co-writing “Glory” for the 2014 film Selma.
He grew up in Chicago and started rapping in his teens, quickly making a name for himself in the local hip-hop scene. Common released his first full album in 1992 (under the name Common Sense), Can I Borrow a Dollar?, but it was his second record, Resurrection (1994) that made him known nationally, especially his “love” song to hip-hop, “I Used to Love H.E.R.”
Since then, Common has been a star, working with producers No I.D., J Dilla and Kanye West to make hip-hop records focused on themes beyond gangs, drugs and money.
He won a best R&B song Grammy in 2002 for “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop),” (with Erykah Badu) and a best rap performance by a duo Grammy for 2007’s “Southside” (with Kanye West); his 2014 album, Nobody’s Smiling, was nominated as best rap album.
Common has also appeared in the movies in supporting roles, including Smokin’ Aces (2007), American Gangster (2007, starring Denzel Washington), Terminator Salvation (2009, starring Christian Bale), Date Night (2010, starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey) and Selma (starring David Oyelowo). He was also in the cable series Hell on Wheels during the 2013-14 season. Common’s other albums include Universal Mind Control (2008) and The Dreamer/The Believer (2011).
In 2018, Common was again nominated for an Oscar, for the song “Stand Up for Something” (co-written with Oscar nominee Diane Warren) from the 2017 film Marshall (starring Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall).