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Common

Common retiring?

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According to VIBE Magazine. Common is planning to ditch his music career for Hollywood, because he feels he will be more successful as an actor than he will ever be as a rapper.

The star – born Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. – has garnered critical acclaim for his lyrical skills in his 15 years in the music industry, but has already made a name for himself as an actor in his short time on the big screen, with roles in movies like Smoking Aces and the newly-released American Gangster. But he is contemplating making the career change more permanent.

He tells Vibe magazine, “I need a new fulfillment as an artist. I feel like I can become a bigger actor than I am a rapper. It’s scary thinking, ‘Damn, if I don’t sell no records, what am I going to do?’ When you haven’t made multi millions in this game, you got to think about what you want to be doing when you’re 50 or 60. I found an art that I really love and it’s infinite.”

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Common Videos

Common – I Want You video

Common’s G.O.O.D Music/Geffen Records gold-selling release Finding Forever wins the “CD of the Year” award at the BET Hip Hop Awards show held in Atlanta, GA. on Saturday, October 14th (Common tied with platinum-selling hip hop star T.I. in winning the top award). Common also won the award for “Lyricist of the Year” and performs “Drivin’ Me Wild” on the show which airs on Wednesday, October 17th @ 8PM.

Common’s 4th video in support of Finding Forever, the star-studded “I Want You” (produced by Will.I.Am) which features Kerry Washington (Co-Director), Alicia Keys, Derek Luke, Kanye West, Serena Williams and Will.I.Am will debut on AOL on 10/23.

Look out for Common as he acts alongside Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in the highly anticipated feature film, The American Gangster, which opens in theatres on November 2. Also be sure to watch BET on 10/23 as Common premieres the video for “I Want You” on “106 and Park.” Common is also featured in MTV’s “52 Bands” week of October 29th, appears on Jimmy Kimmel on November 1st and performs “I Want You” on Letterman on November 6th.

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Common Press Releases

Common – Greatest Hits album tracklisting and info

FIRST COMPILATION EVER ISSUED ON COMMON,

SPANNING EARLY YEARS, 1992-1997

thisisme then: the best of common

15 TRACKS FROM FOUR INFLUENTIAL CHICAGO RAP ALBUMS:

• “Take It EZ,” “Breaker 1/9,” “Soul By The Pound,” “I Used To Love H.E.R.,” “Book Of Life,” “Retrospect For Life” featuring Lauryn Hill, “Reminding Me

(Of Sef)” featuring Chantay Savage, “All Night Long” featuring Erykah Badu, “G.O.D. (Gaining One’s Definition)” featuring Cee-Lo,

“Stolen Moments Pt. III” featuring Q-Tip, and more

Also: Four CD extra bonus videos – “Take It EZ,” “I Used To Love H.E.R.,” “Retrospect For Life” featuring Lauryn Hill, and “Invocation”

Compilation on Grammy Award-winning star of American Gangster and Smokin’ Aces – whose most recent album, Finding Forever debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart – arrives in stores November 27, 2007, on Relativity/Legacy

“It would be hard to imagine hip-hop without Common Sense.”

– Leah Rose, liner notes to thisisme then: the best of common

“Sometimes the most telling aspects of an artist’s career are their early works,” writes Leah Rose, Music Editor, XXL, *Lip Service* Shade 45/Sirius, “the ambitious and sometimes rough attempts that show the world who they are and who they are about to become.”

Common’s early works (before his 1999 major label signing) were the first three albums he recorded for (then) indie label Relativity Records: Can I Borrow A Dollar? (1992, for Combat, distributed by Relativity), Resurrection (1994, on Relativity’s Ruthless imprint), and One Day It’ll All Make Sense (1997, for Relativity proper). All six chart singles from those albums, plus a baker’s dozen critically chosen album tracks (including a contribution to the Soul In The Hole movie soundtrack) are gathered on thisisme then: the best of common, the first compilation of his career. The new album will arrive in stores November 27th on Relativity/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

thisisme then: the best of common includes guest appearances by Lauryn Hill (“Retrospect For Life”), Chantay Savage (“Reminding Me [Of Sef]”), Erykah Badu (“All Night Long”), Cee-Lo Green pre-Gnarls Barkley (“G.O.D. [Gaining One’s Definition]”), and Q-Tip (Intro/Outro on “Stolen Moments Pt. III”) – Q-Tip being Common’s partner in a new supergroup, the Standard. All five of those selections originated on the 1997 album One Day It’ll All Make Sense.

Adding to the compilation are four CD extra bonus video tracks: for “Take It EZ” (Common’s first Rap chart single, from Can I Borrow A Dollar?); “I Used To Love H.E.R.” (from Resurrection); and “Retrospect For Life” (featuring Lauryn Hill) and “Invocation” (both from One Day It’ll All Make Sense).

In 1992, 20-year old Chicago-born and raised freestyler Common Sense (as he was first known) could hardly imagine where the future would take him. One decade later, his heartfelt rhymes and uncompromising hip-hop attitude earned him his first Grammy Award (Best R&B Song for the #1 “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)” with Erykah Badu), and the first of several high-profile movie roles. Film has expanded the scope of his art into new directions, climaxing with his part in American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, opening November 2007.

Four months earlier, Common’s most recent album, Finding Forever (produced mostly by Kanye West) debuted at #1 the Billboard Top 200 Album chart – Common’s first #1 debut. In the school of hip-hop noted by the positivism of such literate (and often jazz-influenced) artists as De La Soul, Digable Planets, the Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, Jurassic 5, Gang Starr, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and others – Common has staked out his own unique and important position. That position is explored fully in the CD booklet liner notes essay written by Leah Rose.

The road to Relativity began on Chicago’s teeming South Side, where Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. (son of pro basketball player Lonnie Lynn) was raised by his single mother, a doctor, in an environment isolated from the feuding East Coast and West Coast rap scenes. He admired mc’s from both factions – Rose’s liner notes cite “Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, and the other MCs he grew up admiring … everything from Rakim to N.W.A.” He was even in a high school rap group of his own before going off to college. At Florida A&M, he continued to write and record demo material. In October 1991, some of his rhymes were featured in The Source magazine’s “Unsigned Hype” column, which led to a signing offer from Relativity, and a slot on its primarily core-metal label, Combat.

Dropping out of college to the disappointment of his mom, Common packed off to New York with an entourage of 15 Chicago friends, and his producers No I.D. (aka Immenslope) and Twilite Tone. Can I Borrow A Dollar? was recorded in a fast two weeks at Calliope Studio (where A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul made some of their early records). The rapper was barely out of his teens when the album was issued in September 1992, and spun off two well-received hits on the Rap charts, “Take It EZ” and “Breaker 1/9.” They were distinguished by their decidedly breezy jazz-inflected non-gangsta approach – at a time when gangsta was dominating rap.

Three more tracks from Can I Borrow A Dollar? are included on thisisme then: “Soul By The Pound” (the third single, and first to cross over from Rap to the R&B chart; from this point onward, most of his singles were crossovers), “Charms Alarm,” and “Heidi Hoe,” produced by the Beatnuts, the album’s only outside production.

A fast-track process of socio-cultural, religious and musical maturation took place over the next two years, which ran the gamut from absorbing John Coltrane (who “influenced the way he put his rhymes together,” Rose writes) to exploring Islam via the teachings of the Koran. This personal growth took shape on October 1994’s Resurrection, the second Relativity album, as he moved over to the Ruthless imprint. Most significant was the single “I Used To Love H.E.R.,” his personification of hip-hop as a lover who has become debased and exploited – an allegory that was openly critical of West Coast gangsta style.

“I Used To Love H.E.R.” sparked a well-publicized cross-country feud with Ice-Cube that was eventually mediated by Louis Farrakhan. In addition to the follow-up title tune single, “Resurrection,” the album is represented by “Book Of Life” and the track that gives this compilation its title, “thisisme.” The success of Resurrection also had another unexpected result, when a reggae group named Common Sense threatened to sue unless he changed his name – thus, he became Common.

By the mid-’90s, so-called ‘alternative rap’ had come into its own, eschewing lurid themes of misogynist sex and violence, in favor of thoughtful rhymes that assayed social and political and interpersonal consciousness. Common was at the center of this movement, and one of the reasons that One Day It’ll All Make Sense, his next album, was not completed until September 1997, was because of the quorum of like-minded hip-hop and R&B artists who wanted to get on-board. Another reason was the profound effect on Common of the news that his girlfriend was pregnant (his daughter was born soon after the album was released). Impending fatherhood added another layer of responsibility and introspection to Common’s poetry.

thisisme then includes five high-profile guest appearances from some (some!) of Common’s collaborators on One Day It’ll All Make Sense, starting with “Retrospect For Life” with Lauryn Hill – who gave birth to her own first child the month before the album release. The track was issued as a non-chart single with a video directed by Hill. The second single was “Reminding Me (Of Sef)” with fellow Chicago R&B singer Chantay Savage, which became a Top 10 Rap hit.

Other notable partners from One Day It’ll All Make Sense heard on this compilation are neo-soul icon Erykah Badu (“All Night Long”), whose debut album was issued at the beginning of 1997; Atlanta’s Goodie Mob heavyweight Cee-Lo Green (“G.O.D. [Gaining One’s Definition]”), nearly a decade before Gnarls Barkley; and New Yorker Q-Tip (Intro/Outro on “Stolen Moments Pt. III”), the founding leader of A Tribe Called Quest, who was about to begin his solo career in 1998, when the Tribe disbanded. In 2007, Common and Q-Tip have organized a supergroup named the Standard.

The audio portion of thisisme then ends with “High Expectations,” Common’s contribution to the Relativity movie soundtrack of Soul In The Hole, a 1997 documentary about Brooklyn playground basketballers who dream of turning pro. Common was in the company of Wu Tang Clan, Dead Prez, M.O.P., Big Pun, Exzibit, Mobb Deep, and others.

Following his initial success at Relativity, Common was signed to major label MCA in 1999, where he scored an R&B hit single with “The Light” in 2000. It sent his first album for the label, Like Water for Chocolate, to Top 5 R&B and RIAA gold. In 2002, Common’s Electric Circus album managed a Top 20 R&B hit with “Come Close To Me” featuring Mary J. Blige. But it was Common’s collaboration with Erykah Badu on “Love Of My Life (An Ode To Hip-Hop)” from the Fox/MCA soundtrack of the Taye Diggs movie Brown Sugar, that won him his first Grammy Award: Best R&B Song, as a writer (shared with Badu). Interestingly, the song was an extension of the personification concept first suggested in 1994, on “I Used To Love H.E.R.”

Common was heard from again in 2005 with Be, his first album produced by Kanye West, a #1 R&B/#2 pop smash that passed the RIAA gold mark without the benefit of a major hit single – although “Testify,” “The Corner,” and “They Say” collected nearly a dozen BET, Grammy, NAACP Image, MTV VMA, Soul Train, and Vibe Awards nominations. To his credit, Common had become a true album artist, who had transcended the singles market – as proved by the success of Finding Forever this past summer.

With music as his artistic foundation, Common has followed the footsteps of other rappers (such as Ludacris and Mos Def) into film. His first support role was last year’s Las Vegas-based action-comedy Smokin’ Aces, starring Ray Liotta and Jeremy Piven. Following his current role in American Gangster, Common will be seen in two films next year: The Night Watchman, a rogue cop thriller with Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, and Forest Whitaker, written by James Ellroy; and Wanted, the adaptation of the graphic comic novel, starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.

“Common’s first three albums are truly a coming of age,” Leah Rose concludes. “As one of rap music’s most talented MCs, he literally grew up in the music that his loyal listeners still cherish more than a decade after its initial release. This collection of songs draws from that much missed era in hip-hop, when lyrical prowess was the hallmark of a rapper’s success.”

thisisme then: the best of common (Relativity/Legacy 88697 19338 2) Selections:
1. Take It EZ (A) •
2. Breaker 1/9 (A) •
3. Soul By The Pound (A) •
4. Charms Alarm (A) •
5. Heidi Hoe (A) •
6. I Used To Love H.E.R. (B) •
7. Book Of Life (B) • 8. Resurrection (B) •
9. thisisme (B) •
10. Retrospect For Life (featuring Lauryn Hill) (C) •
11. Reminding Me (Of Sef) (featuring Chantay Savage) (C) •
12. All Night Long (featuring Erykah Badu) (C) •
13. G.O.D. (Gaining One’s Definition) (featuring Cee-Lo) (C) •
14. Stolen Moments Pt. III (Intro/Outro: Q-Tip) (C) •
15. High Expectations (D) •

CD Extra bonus videos:
16. Take It EZ (A) •
17. I Used To Love H.E.R. (B) •
18. Retrospect For Life (featuring Lauryn Hill) (C) •
19. Invocation (C).

Album key:

A – from Can I Borrow A Dollar? (released Sept. 1992, as Combat/Relativity 1084)

B – from Resurrection (released October 1994, as Ruthless/Relativity 1208)

C – from One Day It’ll All Make Sense (released Sept. 1997, as Relativity 1535)

D – from Soul In The Hole o.s. (released 1997, as Relativity 1836)

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Common Videos

Common – I Want You video

One of the most mature Hip Hop artists further affirms his place with the next video from the album “Finding Forever”

“I Want You” Produced by Will.I.AM. Video starring Common, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Serena Williams and more…Check it out October 23rd on 106 & Park and AOL

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Common Press Releases

Common – Launches Foundation To Empower Urban Youth!!!

Common – Launches Foundation To Empower Urban Youth!!!

*Rapper Common, born Lonnie Rashid Lynn in Chicago, has announced the launch of The Common Ground Foundation, Inc., an effort dedicated to the empowerment and development of urban youth through education.

“I always believed that if we started with the youth then we would be planting the seeds for our future to blossom,” says the socially conscious emcee, who stars opposite Denzel Washington in the upcoming film, “American Gangster.”

Additionally, The Common Ground Foundation supports and focuses on AIDS/HIV prevention programs targeted towards youth and young adults, reaching beyond our national borders to serve communities throughout Africa.

Common also recently wrapped filming on “Wanted” with co-stars Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie, and David Ayer’s “The Night Watchman” starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker.

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Common Press Releases Q-Tip

Q-TIP HITS THE ROAD WITH COMMON ON 2K SPORTS BOUNCE TOUR NEW ALBUM THE RENAISSANCE SCHEDULED FOR EARLY 2008 RELEASE

Q-TIP HITS THE ROAD WITH COMMON ON 2K SPORTS BOUNCE TOUR NEW ALBUM THE RENAISSANCE SCHEDULED FOR EARLY 2008 RELEASE

A TRIBE CALLED QUEST TO BE RECOGNIZED AT VH1 HIP HOP HONORS

New York, NY- Q-Tip will hit the road this Fall alongside Common for the 2K Sports Bounce Tour including stops in Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles (see complete schedule below). The popular video game series NBA 2K8 features Q-Tip as a playable character. He can also be heard on the soundtrack alongside Talib Kweli on the J Dilla track “Lightworks.” The game hits shelves October 2nd.

While on the road, the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning artist will offer up new material from his highly-anticipated release The Renaissance- due early 2008 via Universal Motown. Featuring a unique mix of samples and a live band, the album is the latest chapter in one of the most storied careers in urban music. The first single- “WorkItOut”- is currently available for download on iTunes.

VH1 will pay tribute to A Tribe Called Quest at the fourth annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors- premiering Monday, October 8th at 10PM Eastern/Pacific. Inspiring generations of hip-hop artists, Q-Tip and fellow Tribe members Phife Dawg & Ali Shaheed Muhammad played a key role in turning the genre into the mainstream phenomenon it is today. With infectious beats and socially-conscious lyrics, the Tribe discography is a staple in any hip-hop fans collection.

Q-TIP TOUR:
9/22 – Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
9/24 – Toronto, ON – Kool Haus
9/25 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
9/27 – Charlotte, NC – Amos’ Southend
9/28 – Greensboro, NC – N Club
9/29 – Myrtle Beach, SC – House of Blues
9/30 – Orlando, FL – House of Blues
10/1 – Atlanta, GA – Earthlink Live
10/3 – Baltimore, MD – Sonar
10/5 – Washington DC – Love
10/6 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
10/7 – NYC – Nokia Theatre
10/8 – Norfolk, VA – Norva
10/10 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
10/14 – LA, CA – The Roxy

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Common Lily Allen Videos

Common ft. Lily Allen – “Driving Me Wild”


Common feat. Lily Allen – Drivin Me Wild (NEW)

Common ft. Lily Allen – “Driving Me Wild”

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Common

Common is selling expensive hats

Not sure how long this has been going on, but apparently Mr. Com Sense has released his own line of newsboy caps called Soji (“Rebirth”), under the umbrella of La Coppola Storta. You can check them out here.

Currently, all hats on the site are either $130 or $150. Some are kinda fresh, but $150 for this? Good God. It hurts me to drop even 40 bones on a New Era. I’ll stick with my beat up, five-year-old hats for now, “cuz when I don’t got scratch, I do feel tense….”

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Common

Finding Forever in stores today

Track Listing
1.) Intro
2.) Start the Show
3.) The People
4.) Drivin’ Me Wild ft. Lily Allen
5.) I Want You
6.) Southside ft. Kanye West
7.) The Game
8.) U, Black Maybe ft. Bilal
9.) So Far To Go ft. D’angelo
10.) Break My Heart
11.) Misunderstood
12.) Forever Begins

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Common Reviews

Common – Finding Forever album review

Common Finding Foreverwritten by Philip Oliver

For the last 15 years Common has been a dominant factor in hip hop music. Catapulted into the forefront by his second album ‘Resurrection’ and its lead single ‘I used to love h.e.r.’ The track awarded him a hip hop classic due to his clever wordplay interweaving his love for a woman but who he was talking bout was hip hop in its essence and real. Roughly the same age as the Chi-Town emcee I’ve grown up with him and seen him find his way to the critical acclaim he now has weather it be in music or his newly found forte in acting.

‘Be’ had its moments but it wasn’t as incredible as the critics made out. Before that ‘Electric Circus’ lost its way under Commons experimental phase and the same could be said for ‘Like water for chocolate’. Common needed some direction, he was a versatile emcee who could spit freestyle lyrics and then flip it on his love raps but he wasn’t fulfilling his talent. He didn’t make bad albums but they suffered somewhere after ‘Someday it will all make sense’.

10 years later and ‘Finding Forever’ begins with a swirling instrumental which is reminiscent of something Stevie Wonder would have included as an intro on one of his songs as it sets the tone fitting perfectly as a build up for ‘Start the Show’. A winding string arrangement accompanies a boom bap beat with Kanye announcing ‘Now lets start the show, step out of the cold…’ as Common takes to the mic the sample dissolves into something completely different for him to weave in and out until the it returns to the hook. Ironically an Album has not had this powerful an intro since ‘Be’, but where that suffered with peaking too early with an incredible opener things are kept at the same level throughout the rest of ‘Finding Forever’.

Original Article [extended]