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Common Biography

Birth Name:
Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr.
Birth Place:
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Rapper, actor

Fast Facts

  • Released his debut album, Can I Borrow a Dollar?, in 1992
  • Originally recorded as "Common Sense," but had to change his name due to a lawsuit from a band with the same name
  • His father, former pro basketball player Lonnie Lynn, performs the track "Pop's Rap" on 1994's Resurrection
  • Critical and commercial breakthrough came with 2000's gold-certified Like Water for Chocolate
  • Established the Common Ground Foundation, a non-profit organization benefiting disadvantaged kids in urban areas
  • Made his big-screen debut as himself in the 2002 romantic comedy Brown Sugar; later played Sir Ivy in 2006 actioner Smokin' Aces
  • Wrote the children's books The Mirror, I Like You But I Love Me and M
  • E
  • (Mixed Emotions); released the memoir One Day It'll All Make Sense in 2011
  • Appeared in an ad for animal-rights group PETA; part of the Knowing Is Beautiful campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness


  • 2017Emmy-Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics: winner
  • 2017Oscar-Best Achievement in Music (Original Song): nominated
  • 2015Golden Globe-Best Original Song - Motion Picture: winner
  • 2015Critics' Choice Movie Awards-Best Song: winner
  • 2015Grammy-Best Song Written for Visual Media: winner
  • 2014Oscar-Best Achievement in Music (Original Song): winner