Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., better known to the world as Common, was born on March 13, 1972, on the Southside of Chicago. He is a Grammy and Academy Award-winning actor and rapper who earned his stripes in the underground hip-hop scene in the ‘90s.

The rapper began to generate national attention when The Source included his 1992 track, “Take It EZ,” in their Unsigned Hype column. His critically acclaimed sophomore album, Resurrection, was released in 1994 and gave the rapper a much larger audience Beyond the city walls of his native Chicago. “I Used to Love H.E.R.”—a track off the album using “H.E.R.” as a euphemism for hip-hop—is considered to be a hip-hop classic.

The follow-up album, One Day It’ll Make Sense, was released in 1997 and included a wide array of collaborations that included Questlove, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Canibus, Cee-Lo Green, Black Thought, and De La Soul. It also included the nefarious track “The Bitch In Yoo” aimed at rapper Ice Cube and regarded as one of the greatest beef tracks in rap history. The buzz from the album resulted in a major label deal with Polydor Records. In 2000, Like Water for Chocolate would become Common’s major label debut which was executive produced by Questlove and featured production by J Dilla. The album was a critical success giving Common his first Grammy nomination for his single, “The Light.”

By the time Common released the highly anticipated Electric Circus in 2002, he had aligned himself heavily with the musical collective, Soulquarians. While the album was well-received by critics, it didn’t amount to a substantive commercial success.

As the rapper’s profile began to grow more as the years passed, Common teamed up with a fellow Chicago MC who was in the midst of his breakthrough success: Kanye West. Common signed to the rapper and producer’s music label G.O.O.D. Music and released Be in 2005. The album was his first to make the top five on the Billboard Charts and his second to be certified Gold.

In 2007, the rapper broke into the silver screen alongside Alicia Keys in Smokin’ Aces and has appeared in various films since then, including 2016’s Suicide Squad. In 2014, he co-wrote the theme song with John Legend, for Selma, a film he also appeared in. He received both a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Neke: 92Q jams the most hip hop and R&B. Got Common in the studio.
Common: What's up? How you feeling, Neke?
Neke: What's going on, babe?
Finding Forever dropped, what, like two weeks ago?
Common: Yeah, about a week ago.
Neke: You know the decline of the record sales just across the board, period. Are you happy with the success of Finding Forever so far?
Common: Yeah, definitely. This has been my first number one album, you know. It hit number one in the country and it's been 14 years of making music and this is my first time, so I'm very happy.
Neke: I thought Be was number one, too.
Common: No, Be came in at number two.
Neke: Top five? That's ... Okay.
Common: It was number two.
Neke: I could've promised you I thought it was number one.
Common: Yeah, some rock group, I forgot who it was, but they topped me that.
Neke: Was it Maroon 5?
Common: It was some ... No, it wasn't Maroon 5. Forgot the group, though. But I remember doing a show with them, like, "Man, they topped me," you know? But it's cool. You know, the impact of BE was so good for me.
Neke: Right, absolutely. And this album is great.
Common: Yeah, thank you.
Neke: And we've been telling people, like, "If you want a good album, you got to get this album, Finding Forever." Not only that, Rod Madd Flava ... You know him from Rap Attack, right?
Common: Yeah, yeah.
Neke: He's always walking around the building. He gets so frustrated. "Where's hip hop? If you see hip hop, tell him ... send him my way, because I need to find him. I'm looking for him."
Common: Yeah.
Neke: So if you looking for hip hop, you got to pick up the album, because you will find hip hop on that album.
Common: Yeah, thank you, yeah. You know, when I make a album, I want it to be an album, an experience, and a story that you can play from front to back, you know, and just ride out and feel all the emotions that you may feel as a person, whether it's ... Sometimes you feeling spiritual, sometimes you feeling rugged and want to fight, sometimes you feel in love, you know, so ...
Neke: You feel rugged? Never.
Common: Ah, come on, Neke. I'm the man. You know, I got that animal in me too sometimes, so I just try to express it through the music. But the album is largely produced by Kanye West, and also a track by will.i.am, and my guy J Dilla, who passed before the album came out.
Neke: Right.
Common: But that's the production-wise, and as far as guest appearances, I have a song with D'Angelo on there and Bilal sang on a lot of tracks. And a lady by the name of Lily Allen from the UK sang on a song called "Drivin' Me Wild," which we just shot the video for. But we really going to be probably go on the radio with "I Want You," that, which would be the next single to the radio.

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