Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. (born March 13, 1972), better known by his stage name Common (previously Common Sense), is a Grammy and Oscar-winning rapper and actor from Chicago, Illinois. Common’s inspired mix of poetic flow and hip-hop soul has helped him earn his status as one of the most respected rappers in the game.
After being a ball boy for his hometown Chicago Bulls as a teen and attending Florida A&M University for business administration, Common Sense kicked in and he left school to become a rapper. He gained national attention after being featured in the Unsigned Hype column of The Source magazine in 1991. He released his debut album Can I Borrow a Dollar? through Relativity Records in 1992, followed by his breakthrough second album Resurrection in 1994, which features his hip-hop classic single “I Used To Love H.E.R.”
As his career began to take off, he was sued by the music group Common Sense over the name, leading Common to drop the “Sense” and allude to the change in the title of his third album, One Day It’ll All Make Sense (1997). He has released several critically acclaimed albums, including Like Water For Chocolate (2000), which features his J Dilla-produced hit single “The Light”, and Be (2005), which was released under fellow Chicago musician Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint. He also joined musicians Karriem Riggins and Robert Glasper to form the group August Greene, and the trio released their self-titled album in 2018.
Common has appeared in several television shows and movies, including American Gangster, Selma, Suicide Squad, The Mindy Project, The Simpsons, The Wiz Live!, and The Chi among others. Common and John Legend won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in the Best Original Song category for their song “Glory” from Selma. Common also won Grammy Awards for his collaborations with Erykah Badu (“Love of My Life”) and Kanye West (“Southside”) in the categories of Best R&B Song (2003) and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (2008), respectively.