Socially conscious rap superstar Common is a modern-day renaissance man. He’s written two memoirs, championed numerous causes, and appeared in dozens of films and TV shows en route to becoming a household name.
• The Chicago native went by the name Common Sense for his first two studio albums, 1992’s Can I Borrow a Dollar? and 1994’s Resurrection.
• In 2003, Common took home his first Grammy, winning Best R&B Song for “Love of My Life,” a collaboration with Erykah Badu. The song appears on the soundtrack for the film Brown Sugar, which Common cameos in.
• Following the experimental 2002 album Electric Circus, Common quieted detractors with 2005’s Be, a poetic break from the street-rap sound then dominating the mainstream.
• The Grammy-nominated Be was primarily produced by fellow Chicago native Kanye West. Yeezy referred to Common as the “Marvin Gaye of rap.”
• In 2015, Common and John Legend won both the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Song for “Glory,” their uplifting anthem from the 2014 film Selma.
• Common has launched numerous social justice initiatives throughout his career. In May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he started the No. WeMatterToo campaign to push for better conditions for incarcerated people.
BORNMarch 13, 1972