Whether you’re a fan of his music, his philanthropy work or his movies (we can’t wait to see him in Barbershop: The Next Cut on April 15,) there is simply no way you can dislike the caramel-skinned eye-candy. He is “the perfect verse over a tight beat.”
Formerly known as Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., the rapper Common debuted in 1992 with the album Can I Borrow a Dollar?. Since then, the Chicago native has become one of the most prolific lyricists of our time. He has crafted a number of classics that fearlessly address spirituality, racism, violence, poverty, sexuality and politics.
In 2014, Common starred in Selma, where he played James Bevel, a prominent civil rights leader. In addition to starring in the film, the rapper returned to his musical roots where he co-wrote Glory with John Legend. Like much of Common’s music, Glory is a powerful and poignant anthem that offers the people a voice. Thanks to the songs influential lyrics, Glory went on to win Best Original Song at the 2015 Golden Globes.
Common makes sure to address the hardships that we as a Black community face through his art. But he also puts his money were his mouth is. In 2014, the rapper-turned-actor announced that his Common Ground Foundation would be collaborating with Kanye West’s charity organization, Donda’s House Inc., and the Chicago Urban League in an initiative to supply employment opportunities to the community, collectively known as The Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative. Through the Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative, Common hopes to provide 15,000 jobs for the young people in Chicago over the next five years.
In honor of the Chicagoan gracefully aging like fine wine, here are five of our favorite Common songs and lyrics that make the rapper the perfect woke bae.
That’s why Rosa sat on the bus
That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up
When it go down we woman and man up
“I Used to Love H.E.R”
I met this girl, when I was ten years old
And what I loved most she had so much soul
She was old school, when I was just a shorty
Never knew throughout my life she would be there for me
I look into my daughter’s eyes
And realize I’ma learn through her
The Messiah, might even return through her
If I’ma do it, I gotta change the world through her
“Retrospect For Life”
Yo, we gotta start respectin life more y’all
You look at your brother man you gotta see yourself
Gotta see the God within him
Brothers getting changed real quick over nothin
We losing too many of ours
Survival of the fit with hope in they eye
Taking notes from the sky to fly above understanding
They notes from the most high, so I gotta land them
Career ain’t random, make anthems, streets chant them