Ladybrille® Blogazine


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Grammy Winner,Common, Talks Music & Giving Back

Lonnie Rashid Lynn popularly known as Common is about conscience raising music and doing good deeds for “the people.” Common is controversial, dynamic, soulful, spiritual, experimental and consistently delivers lyrics that point to the big elephant in the room.

Born March 13th, 1972, the South Side Chicago native was aware of the hard knock life urban youths face in the ghettos across the USA; as he experienced and lived that reality. He would later use his mc skills to give voice to these voiceless souls.

The conscience pricking rapper through hard work and keeping it as real as real gets became an established name in the underground hip-hop scene. However, it was not until 2000 he made his debut into mainstream with his fourth album, “Like Water Chocolate.” Released under MCA Records, “Like Water Chocolate” featured, on its album cover, a picture of a young black woman in Alabama who drank from a “colored only” drinking fountain. Needless to say, that along with his strong mc skills, piqued the curiousity of mainstream. The album was also unique because Common did what most of hip-hop had not done uptill that moment. He paid tribute to Africa via Nigeria and Africa’s music legend and human rights activist, Fela Kuti with "Time Travelin' [A Tribute to Fela]."

If his 2000 release piqued mainstream’s interest, Common’s “Be” album released in 2005 and produced by Kanye West and J Dilla had the masses listening. By 2006, the album was nominated for four grammies. Since then, Common has continued releasing soul raising grammy award winning albums. Indeed, his seventh album released in 2007,“Finding Forever,” also produced by Kanye West debuted at #1 on the billboard 200. With hits like “The People” featuring Dwele, “The Game” and “ I want You” starring Kerry Washington, Kanye West, Serena Williams and Alicia Keys, it was no surprise that the album was nominated for three grammies and Common won “Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.”

From success on the mic, Common is now showing his flexibility on the big screen. 2007 saw him appear alongside Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven and Alicia Keys in Smokin’ Aces. He also debuted alongside Hollywood’s greats like Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in the American Gangster. As of this year, he has appeared alongside Keanu Reeves and Forrest Whitaker in the recently released "Street Kings." The artist/actor is also expected to star alongside Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie in "Wanted," scheduled for release later this year.

In spite of all of these successes, for Common, he maintains it is about the people and specifically at risk youths. His experiences growing up in the streets in South Side Chicago; and the fact that Common is now a father to ten year old Omoye, is probably the driving force to give a voice and help at-risk-youths. Indeed in a society that pays more of lip service rather than truly make a difference with youths, it is refreshing to see Common is not interested in just talking but actually walking the talk. Common recently launched the Common Ground Foundation, his non-profit organization to empower at-risk youths. An organization that he believes is distinct from others because it has a mind, body and soul [approach to helping at-risk-youths]. work with the Common Ground Foundation? Why are you so passionate about helping at risk youths?
Common: I grew up in Chicago where I saw a lot of people who didn't have opportunities. I have compassion towards children and I feel that children are the future. I wanna create a better opportunity to create a better world for themselves and others. A part of your program with Common Ground Foundation is to help youths with their mind, body and soul. Why did you think it is important to add that angle to your programs?
Common: A lot of times, we miss out on things that are essential to living like health, creating a happy environment, creating social skills and the most important thing to have is love for yourself and others. The main thing is that I would love to have for them to learn those skills. How do you feel when you discover others benefit from your work, some of whom have never met you?
Common: That's one of the greatest rewards of doing this. It is to know that you're touching people when you've never even met face to face. This month is the Africa music issue on Ladybrille.What do you think about Africa's music and particularly hip-hop scene?Common: Hip-hop comes from Africa so I love it. They feel the rhythm in it. They feel the soul in it. I love the African music that I've been introduced to, mostly Nigerian like Fela Kuti. You have a very successful music career and you are doing it BIG overall. How is it that you stay grounded and keep your core values in all the glory and a very fickle entertainment industry?
Common: God is my foundation and my light source of all these opportunities and blessings and I realize that. I also look at the conditions of people who haven't had the opportunity that I've had and it makes me wanna do more for them.
To find out how to win an autographed & limited edition CD: The People and DVD Videos: The People and The Game, click here.

Common--The People

Common-The Game

Common-I Want You


Chi-Chi said...

LB, this is another brillant interview. I love what he had to say about hip-hop and Nigeria.

Can I get a copy of Common's album pretty please?* My brother refuses to return my copy, lmao!

*Of course I'm just joking, LB! :)

Icy PR said...

Kudos LB. You keep doing it. Common is certainly an inspiration to more people that he knows. I'll keep buying his CD's. I wish and Common much more success... It's only going to get better.

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