Common is a celebrated rapper from Chicago who got famous for producing a new wave of hip-hop adding elements of new-age, jazz and funk. He was born Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. on March 13, 1972 in a family of a teacher and ex-basketball player who used to be an average NBA professional. As soon as in his high school years, Rashid formed his first band to be called C.D.R. He left it shortly after, with an intention to study business. However, he found he was more into rap rather than into education and came back to music.
In 1992 Rashid produced his first solo album, Can I Borrow a Dollar? He picked up the Common Sense stage name. The composition Take It EZ made a great contribution to the album’s popularity among the supporters of the so called intelligent hip-hop widely represented by A Tribe Called Quest, and Gang Starr. In two years, Common Sense released the second album, Resurrection. It was heavily promoted by the track I Used to Love H.E.R., in some way criticizing the gangsta trend of hip-hop. This came to hurt the prominent ‘gangster’ Ice Cube which led to a conflict between the two performers, yet never hindered the charts run of the album itself. As soon as Common Sense had got himself a big name he was forced to change it. It became necessary after the same called ska band had threatened him with a claim for copycat. Rashid did not hesitate long to simply reduce his pseudonym to Common.
It took Common three years to prepare his third studio work. It got the name One Day It'll All Make Sense and hit the stores in 1997. The session involved Lauryn Hill, Q-Tip, Black Thought and some other celebrities. The album included such acclaimed hits as Reminding Me (of Sef), and Retrospect for Life. The release ranked twelfth in the hip-hop charts and earned Common an offer from MCA he could not refuse. After signing the contract, the rapper moved from his native Chicago to New York. With the two LPs released on MCA, Like Water for Chocolate (2000), and Electric Circus (2002), Common reached the new level of commercial success and became a leading performer of the new generation rap. He never feared experiments and gladly cooperated with musicians from the genres hardly associated with hip-hop before. Common won his first Grammy in 2003 for participating in Erykah Badu’s Love of My life (An Ode to Hip-Hop).
The subsequent album by Common released in 2005 again met all the expectations of his fans. Be was almost entirely produced by Kanye West. A year before that, West released a sensational album of his own called The College Dropout, and his name alone among this album makers was enough to grant Be a large portion of attention. Actually, Be was too proficient an album to need West’s name as promotion and rightfully topped the hip-hop Billboard charts staying second in the pop-charts. With 800,000 copies sold out, Be brought Common two Grammy nominations in 2006. In a year, Common released Finding Forever, produced by West again, and despite everything managed to rank first in the pop Billboard charts. This was quickly followed by the announcement of A Tribe Called Quest performer, Q-Tip, about him and Common planning to start the new project The Standard. In 2008 Common consolidated his leading position the rap industry by the powerful album Universal Mind Control. Two years later the performer’s discography was enlarged by a wonderful compilation album Go! - Common Classics (2010), which included the artist’s best works: The Light, I Want You, Testify and many others. The record’s incredible atmosphere and mood will be definitely enjoyed not only by Common’s old fans, but also by all the lovers of high quality and sincere music.