Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn Jr., better known by his stage name "Common"note (born March 13, 1972), is an American rapper and actor. Common is known for being one of the more prominent rappers in the Conscious Hip Hop genre, and he made it a point to eschew the gangsta/glam-type leanings of popular Hip-Hop, in favor of more positive and socially conscious lyrics addressing issues like racism, unrequited love, etc.
Though Can I Borrow A Dollar? was seen as a promising debut, it was 1994's Resurrection that really put Common on the map, showcasing both his penchant for clever wordplay and his excellent storytelling (often centered around life in Chicago). Unfortunately, while the album was critically lauded, it failed to gain much commercial success, debuting on the Billboard 200 at only #178 and then dropping off the chart the following week. Three years later, he released his third album One Day It'll All Make Sense to similar critical acclaim but only slightly more commercial success. It was with 2000's Like Water For Chocolate that Common finally found both critical and commercial success, debuting at #16 on the Billboard 200 and reaching Gold certification, thanks to its hit single "The Light." After 2002's somewhat divisive Electric Circus, 2005's Be became Common's most critically and commercially successful album to date, thanks in no small part to heavy involvement from a certain other Chicago-based rapper. Common has had a pretty consistent musical career ever since, with his latest album being 2020's EP A Beautiful Revolution (Pt. 1).
As an actor, he's known for his film roles, such as in Smokin' Aces and Wanted. Besides acting, Common also took up film production under his own film production company, Freedom Road Productions. He served as executive producer for the direct-to-video feature An American Girl Story Melody 1963: Love Has to Win.
- Can I Borrow a Dollar? (1992)
- Resurrection (1994)
- One Day It'll All Make Sense (1997)note
- Like Water for Chocolate (2000)
- Electric Circus (2002)
- Be (2005)
- Finding Forever (2007)
- Universal Mind Control (2008)
- The Dreamer/The Believer (2011)
- Nobody's Smiling (2014)
- Black America Again (2016)
- August Greene (with Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins) (2018)
- Let Love (2019)
- A Beautiful Revolution (Pt. 1) (2020)
- Smokin' Aces (2006) - Sir Ivy
- American Gangster (2007) - Turner Lucas
- Street Kings (2008) - Coates
- Wanted (2008) - The Gunsmith
- Terminator Salvation (2009) - Barnes
- Date Night (2010) - Detective Collins
- Just Wright (2010) - Scott McKnight
- Happy Feet Two (2011) - Seymour
- LUV (2012) - Uncle Vincent
- The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012) - Coach Cal
- Movie 43 (2013) - Bob Mone Segment: "The Pitch"
- Now You See Me (2013) - Agent Evans
- Pawn (2013) - Officer Jeff Porter
- XY (2014) - Jason
- Every Single Thing (2014) - Devlin Hatch
- Selma (2014) - James Bevel
- Run All Night (2015) - Mr. Price
- Being Charlie (2015) - Travis
- Barbershop: The Next Cut (2016) - Rashad
- Suicide Squad (2016) - Monster T
- John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) - Cassian
- A Happening Of Monumental Proportions (2017) - Daniel Crawford
- Love Beats Rhymes (2017) - Coltrane
- Megan Leavey (2017) - Gunny Martin
- Girls Trip (2017) - Himself
- The Tale (2018) - Martin
- Here And Now (2018) - Ben
- All About Nina (2018) - Rafe
- The Hate U Give (2018) - Carlos Carter
- Saint Judy (2018) - Benjamin Adebayo
- Smallfoot (2018) - Stonekeeper (voice)
- Hunter Killer (2018) - Rear Admiral John Fisk
- The Kitchen (2019) - Gary Silvers
- The Informer (2019) - Grens
- Ava (2020)- Michael
- Hell on Wheels (20112014) - Elam Ferguson, main cast; 32 episodes
- The Wiz Live! (2015) - The Bouncer, telefilm/television special
- The Lion Guard (2017present) - Kiburi (voice), 9 episodes
- The Chi (2018) - Rafiq, 3 episodes; also executive producer
- Home Movie: The Princess Bride (2020) - Westley, 1 episode
"Now black tropes is black tropes, and it's all good; I wasn't salty that she was tropin' Boyz n the Hood..."
- Alternative Hip Hop: Not initially, but settled firmly into this after Resurrection.
- Battle Rapping: Generally not known a battler, but he's had some pretty infamous rows with Ice Cube and Drake in the past:
- With Ice Cube, it started over a misheard lyric taken out of context on "I Used to Love H.E.R.".note Feeling slighted, and with tensions rising during the infamous East-West Coast Feud, Ice Cube and his crew Westside Connection released "Westside Slaughterhouse", and attacked Common and several other east coast emcees, despite Common hailing from the Midwest. Common then proceeded to ether Cube with "The Bitch In Yoo", which ridiculed Ice Cube for taking his song out of context, hypocrisy, and pointing out that Cube heavily relied on east coast rappers like Das EFX and Public Enemy to get his solo career off the ground. After the death of Tupac Shakur, the emcees squashed the beef with the help of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farhakan.
- With Drake, much of their animus stemmed from the fact that they were both romantically involved with tennis star Serena Williams around the same time (2011-2012). Common first took subliminal shots with the track "Sweet", particularly in reference to comments Drake had made about him during a show. In turn, Drake responded with his verse on Rick Ross' track "Stay Schemin'", making fun of Common's age (he was almost 40 at the time), and implied Serena had told him some very nasty stuff about him during pillow talk. Common quickly came back with his own remix of "Stay Schemin'", accusing Drake of biting styles (an accusation that's plagued Drizzy to this day), trying to create a hardcore persona, despite being the total opposite and not being able to respond without hiding behind his associates' songs. Again, the beef would eventually be squashed between the two rappers.
- Boastful Rap: All over Resurrection, with the title track, "Orange Pineapple Juice" and "Thisisme" being particularly notable examples.
- Broken Record: A particularly odd example of this happens on One Day It'll All Make Sense. "Stolen Moments, Pt. 1" ends with Common repeating "It's a frantic... situation" a number of times. The song is then Cut Short, and "Stolen Moments, Pt. 2" opens with Black Thought repeating the exact same line a number of times.
- Cool Old Guy: Common's late father, Lonnie Lynn, Sr., who, starting with Resurrection, ended each of Common's albums (except for Universal Mind Control) with some spoken-word bits of wisdom/experience before passing away in 2014.
- Lighter and Softer: Common was never a "dark" or "edgy" rapper to begin with, but Be turns up the dial even further on positive lyrical messages and uplifting beats. This can no doubt be attributed in part to Kanye West's heavy involvement with its production.
- Never Mess with Granny: The thugs in "Payback Is A Grandmother" learn this lesson the hard way.
- Parody Commercial: Not really a "parody," per say, but "W.M.O.E" off of Resurrection is a fake radio bumper that serves as an intro to "Thisisme."
- Record Producer: No I.D. and J Dilla are his most consistent ones, though will.i.am, Kareem Riggins and Kanye West have lent a hand on more than a few occasions.
- Supergroup: Common is a latter-day member of the Native Tongues, and a member of the Soulquarians collective, which included D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, and J Dilla, among many others.
- Self-Deprecation / Hypocritical Humor: Common engages in both with the skit ending "The 6th Sense." In it, a female fan approaches him and praises him for his female-empowering lyrics. He's flattered by this... only for Com to reveal himself as an abusive pimp, much to the female fan's shock and disgust.
- Sequel Song: "Stolen Moments, Pts. 2" and "3" off of One Day It'll All Make Sense.
- Wham Line: "I Used to Love H.E.R." has one of the most famous ones in hip-hop. The track is set up as a tale about a girl he loved, but gew apart from, and who was constantly degraded by others over the years, with Common unable to do much, but watch. But at the end of the final verse, everything gets flipped on its head:"...But so many niggas hit it
That she's just not the same, lettin' all these groupies do her,
I see niggas slammin' her, and takin' her to the sewer,
But I'ma take her back, hopin' that the shit stop,
Cause who I'm talkin' about, y'all, is hip-hop."
- Word Salad Lyrics: The appropriately titled "Sum Shit I Wrote" is just Common playfully showcasing his talent for wordplay and rhyming. At face value, its lyrics don't really mean anything.
- World of Pun: "Communism" riffs on Common's stage name by listing off a ton of words beginning with "Com."
- Writing Around Trademarks: One Day It'll All Make Sense, by Common's own admission, was titled as such to get around the lawsuit that forced him to drop the "Sense" from his stage name.