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COMMON

Artist profile

Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. a.k.a. Common

Born: March 13, 1972 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Years active: 1992 - present

“... but I'mma take her back hopin' that the shit stop - cause who I'm talkin bout y'all is Hip Hop”

Born in 1972 in Chicago, Illinois, Lonnie Lynn Jr. would become the underground rapper Common, making 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, among others. A Grammy winner, Common has also turned to acting, as seen with roles in projects like Just Wright, The Odd Life of Timothy Green and Selma. For the latter film, he and vocalist/musician John Legend have won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for the song “Glory.”

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Rapper and actor Common was born Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. on March 13, 1972 in Chicago, Illinois to educator Mahalia Ann Hines and basketball player Lonnie Lynn Sr. The young Lynn went on to adopt the stage name Common Sense and became an underground rapper who garnered a reputation for relatively thoughtful, progressive lyrics as compared to top-selling rap artists of the time. He released his debut album Can I Borrow a Dollar? on the Relativity label. His next album, Resurrection, came in 1994 and featured the single “I Used to Love H.E.R.” followed in 1997 by One Day It’ll All Make Sense, which included contributions from Lauryn Hill and De La Soul, among others.

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,” with additional musical contributors like D’Angelo, Macy Gray and Roy Hargrove. Common’s next album Electric Circus was much more experimental and diverse in its sonic orientation, with Mary J. Blige featured on the single “Come Close.” Other tracks hosted musicians like Jill Scott, Pharrell Williams, Erykah Badu (to whom Common was romantically linked at the time), Cee Lo Green and Prince.

In 2003, Common won a Grammy for Best R&B Song for “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop),” a collaboration with Badu that was featured on the 2002 soundtrack Brown Sugar. (He would receive another Grammy years later for the song “Southside.”)

In 2005, Common dropped the more straightforward, funk/soul-based Be, a No. 2 album on the Billboard charts. The project featured production from fellow Chi-town artist Kanye West, who also contributed lyrically to the single “GO!” and tracks “The Food” and “They Say,” with singer John Legend appearing on the latter song as well.

Common has continued to focus on recording as seen with albums Finding Forever (2007; No. 1 on Billboard), Universal Mind Control (2008), The Dreamer/The Believer (2011) and Nobody’s Smiling (2014). Yet he has also increasingly turned to acting, having made his television debut with a role on the sitcom Girlfriends. Later TV projects included One on One and Hell on Wheels, with Common playing 19th-century character Elam Ferguson for several seasons.

The rapper/actor has also landed 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 family fare 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. 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. For Selma, Common and Legend won a Golden Globe for the song “Glory” as well as an Academy Award, with both artists using their Oscar acceptance speeches to highlight contemporary issues that connect to the Civil Rights Movement.

In addition to performance work, Common has authored a 2006 children’s book I Like You but I Love Me (illustrations by Lorraine West), as well as a 2011 memoir named after his third album.

COMMON

Official site: Common

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Discography

Movies

LUV

LUV

Over the course of one day, a shy 13-year-old forms a bond with his troubled uncle....

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The Notorious B.I.G BET Official presents

The Notorious B.I.G BET Official presents

The Notorious B.I.G exploded onto the hip-hop scene in 1994 with the hip-hop anthem "juicy" after blazing remixes for Craig Mack and Mary J....

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A Happening of Monumental Proportions

A Happening of Monumental Proportions

During the course of one day, a group of students at a school in Los Angeles find themselves caught up in a plot of sex, lies and dead bodie...

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Just Wright

Just Wright

A physical therapist falls for the basketball player she is helping recover from a career-threatening injury....

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Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

Having forged a 20-year run as one of the most innovative and influential hip hop bands of all time, the Queens NY collective known as 'A Tr...

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Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records

Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records

Under the direction of founder and world-renowned DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw Records has consistently released critically acclaimed...

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Barbershop: The Next Cut

Barbershop: The Next Cut

It’s been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin’s Barbershop. Calvin and his longtime crew, including Eddie, are still...

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Love Beats Rhymes

Love Beats Rhymes

A young woman dreams of making it big in the world of hip hop, but her parents demand that she finish her university degree. She dutifully a...

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Two Trains Runnin'

Two Trains Runnin'

The search of several young, white men for blues singers who have been missing for decades coincides with the Civil Rights Movement in Missi...

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Misdirection: The Real Magic

Misdirection: The Real Magic

A documentary film that follows two young men on a 3-year odyssey, through small triumphs and big set-backs, as they train to become profess...

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Feel Rich: Health Is the New Wealth

Feel Rich: Health Is the New Wealth

FEEL RICH: HEALTH IS THE NEW WEALTH documents the nascent self-love revolution emerging in urban communities. Narrated by Quincy Jones III, ...

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All About Nina

All About Nina

Nina Geld's passion and talent have made her a rising star in the comedy scene, but she's an emotional mess offstage. When a new professiona...

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Black America Again

Black America Again

A visual celebration of the beauty, strength, perseverance and spirit of the Black community in these troubling times....

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Dave Chappelle's Block Party

Dave Chappelle's Block Party

The American comedian/actor delivers a story about the alternative Hip Hop scene. A small town Ohio man’s moves to Brooklyn, New York, to ...

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Bouncing Cats

Bouncing Cats

This documentary follows the efforts of Abraham "Abramz" Tekya and Breakdance Project Uganda (BPU) to use dance to empower youth in war-torn...

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5 Sides of a Coin

5 Sides of a Coin

"5 Sides of a Coin" is a comprehensive overview of the worldwide cultural movement of Hip-Hop....

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Being Charlie

Being Charlie

Charlie is a troublesome 18-year-old who breaks out of a youth drug treatment clinic, but when he returns home to Los Angeles, he's given an...

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Chasing Trane

Chasing Trane

The film explores the global power and impact of the music of John Coltrane and reveals the passions, experiences and forces that shaped his...

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The Informer

The Informer

An ex-convict working undercover intentionally gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security prison. ...

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Eve

Eve

A black ops assassin is forced to fight for her own survival after a job goes dangerously wrong....

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Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives

Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives

Exploring the social impact of what The Source Magazine in 1998 voted, "The Best Hip Hop Radio Show Of All-Time." The documentary film is th...

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Hunter Killer

Hunter Killer

Captain Glass of the USS Arkansas discovers that a coup d'état is taking place in Russia, so he and his crew join an elite group working on...

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Here and Now

Here and Now

A singer in New York gets a grim diagnosis that puts her life and dreams into perspective....

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Smallfoot

Smallfoot

A bright young yeti finds something he thought didn't exist—a human. News of this “smallfoot” throws the simple yeti community into an...

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Saint Judy

Saint Judy

The true story of immigration attorney Judy Wood and how she singlehandedly changed the U.S. law of asylum to save women's lives....

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John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick is forced out of retirement by a former associate looking to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by...

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Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack's unprecedented film celebrates Dr. Maya Angelou by weaving her words with rare and intimate archival pho...

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The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

Raised in a poverty-stricken slum, a 16-year-old girl named Starr now attends a suburban prep school. After she witnesses a police officer s...

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The Kitchen

The Kitchen

After a group of Irish mobsters in Hell's Kitchen are sentenced to jail, their wives take their place—and do as good of a job, if not bett...

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Notorious B.I.G.: Bigger Than Life

Notorious B.I.G.: Bigger Than Life

The greatest rapper to ever pick up a mic - with his velvety flow and unparalleled rhyme style he captivated everyone from Jay Z to Tupac. N...

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Wanted

Wanted

Doormat Wesley Gibson discovers that his recently murdered father – who Wesley never knew – belonged to a secret guild of assassins. Aft...

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X/Y

X/Y

As Mark, Jen, Sylvia, and Jake navigate through their emotionally-arrested states, X/Y reveals the honest and wanton desire we all have to c...

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Every Secret Thing

Every Secret Thing

One clear summer day in a Baltimore suburb, a baby goes missing from her front porch. Two young girls serve seven years for the crime and ar...

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The Tale

The Tale

An investigation into one woman’s memory as she‘s forced to re-examine her first sexual relationship and the stories we tell ourselves i...

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Kanye West: College Dropout - Video Anthology

Kanye West: College Dropout - Video Anthology

A collection of music videos and behind the scenes footage released to promote Kanye West's upcoming debut album, College Dropout. The compi...

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Music

Music

In the documentary film, MUSIC, Andrew Zuckerman interviews eminent musicians, composers, and producers from rock, pop, hip-hop, classical, ...

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Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

All grown up in post-apocalyptic 2018, John Connor must lead the resistance of humans against the increasingly dominating militaristic robot...

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Beef

Beef

A documentary on the evolution of MC battles from verbal one-upmanship to street warfare....

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The Wiz Live!

The Wiz Live!

Winner of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, The Wiz was a massive Broadway hit which spawned a dismal feature film starring Diana Ross ...

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Megan Leavey

Megan Leavey

The true story of Marine Corporal Megan Leavey, who forms a powerful bond with an aggressive combat dog, Rex. While deployed in Iraq, the tw...

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Street Kings

Street Kings

Tom Ludlow is a disillusioned L.A. Police Officer, rarely playing by the rules and haunted by the death of his wife. When evidence implicate...

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Happy Feet Two

Happy Feet Two

Mumble the penguin has a problem: his son Erik, who is reluctant to dance, encounters The Mighty Sven, a penguin who can fly! Things get wor...

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Smokin' Aces

Smokin' Aces

When a Las Vegas performer-turned-snitch named Buddy Israel decides to turn state's evidence and testify against the mob, it seems that a wh...

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Pawn

Pawn

A petty robbery spirals into a tense hostage situation after three gunmen hold up a diner that's a front for the mob....

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Run All Night

Run All Night

Brooklyn mobster and prolific hit man Jimmy Conlon has seen better days. Longtime best friend of a mob boss, Jimmy is haunted by the sins of...

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Now You See Me

Now You See Me

An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audi...

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BET Presents Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration

BET Presents Love & Happiness: An Obama Celebration

A White House concert and celebration in honor of the 8-year Presidency of Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama....

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Selma

Selma

"Selma," as in Alabama, the place where segregation in the South was at its worst, leading to a march that ended in violence, forcing a famo...

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Date Night

Date Night

Phil and Claire Foster fear that their mild-mannered relationship may be falling into a stale rut. During their weekly date night, their din...

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Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap

SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: THE ART OF RAP is a feature length performance documentary about the runaway juggernaut that is Rap music. At the wh...

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Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad

From DC Comics comes the Suicide Squad, an antihero team of incarcerated supervillains who act as deniable assets for the United States gove...

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Movie 43

Movie 43

A series of interconnected short films follows a washed-up producer as he pitches insane story lines featuring some of the biggest stars in ...

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An American Hero

An American Hero

United States, September 1, 2016. American football player Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem, protesting police brutality a...

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The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

A childless couple bury a box in their backyard, containing all of their wishes for an infant. Soon, a child is born, though Timothy Green i...

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Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar

Sidney is a writer who's just left her L.A. Times music review gig to edit New York hip-hop magazine XXL. Dre is an executive with a hip-hop...

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Unity

Unity

Despite the advent of science, literature, technology, philosophy, religion, and so on -- none of these has assuaged humankind from killing ...

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American Gangster

American Gangster

Following the death of his employer and mentor, Bumpy Johnson, Frank Lucas establishes himself as the number one importer of heroin in the H...

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Girls Trip

Girls Trip

Four girlfriends take a trip to New Orleans for an annual festival and, along the way, rediscover their wild sides and strengthen the bonds ...

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The Words That Built America

The Words That Built America

In this 4th of July special, politicians, celebrities and young people lend their voices to a reading of the Declaration of Independence, Co...

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Entourage

Entourage

Movie star Vincent Chase, together with his boys, Eric, Turtle and Johnny, are back…and back in business with super agent-turned-studio he...

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New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve

The lives of several couples and singles in New York intertwine over the course of New Year's Eve....

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Ocean's Eight

Ocean's Eight

Debbie Ocean, a criminal mastermind, gathers a crew of female thieves to pull off the heist of the century at New York's annual Met Gala....

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Two Trains Runnin'

Two Trains Runnin'

The search of several young, white men for blues singers who have been missing for decades coincides with the Civil Rights Movement in Missi...

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