Lonnie Lynn aka Common was born in 1972 in Chicago. His mom was a teacher while his dad used to play in ABA. The future rapper spent his childhood in one of the quiet Chicago neighborhoods. When he was six, Lynn’s parents divorced. His father moved to Denver but continued to visit his family. While in high school, Lonnie and two of his friends formed a trio CDR and played hip-hop. After graduation, the rapper enrolled in Florida University to study business but quit after two years to pursue a music career.
In September 1992, the musician recorded his first single “Take It EZ”. It was an immediate success, reaching the 5th spot on Hot Rap Singles Chart. The single became a part of the rapper’s debut album, Can I Borrow a Dollar. At that time, Lynn adopted a pseudonym, which initially sounded like Common Sense but was later shortened to simply Common due to ownership rights dispute.
In October 1994, Common presented his second LP, Resurrection. The new album earned a positive reaction from the critics, which noted the smooth sound and excellent lyrics. The album eventually sold about 230,000 copies in the USA and made into Billboard 200 on one of the last positions.
In one of the singles from the LP, “I Used to Love H.E.R.”, Common compared the degradation of the hip-hop style with the way women lose their way by selling their bodies. In California, the local rappers viewed it as an insult to the gangsta rap of the West Coast. In 1995, they replied with a single “Used to love H.E.R. mad cause I fucked her”. The rappers continued arguing and fighting by using their songs. Eventually, they settled the problem and the insulting ended.
In 1996, Common, together with other artists, participated in the recording of an album, America Is Dying Slowly, which was devoted to fighting AIDS among African Americans.
In September 1997, the artist presented his third LP, One Day It All All Sense. While recording the album, Lynn was waiting for his first child to be born, and it influenced the way he viewed music. In his third LP, Common moved away from gangsta rap. The lyrics became more thoughtful and somewhat responsible. He even mentioned family a few times in the songs. The cover of the album was decorated with his childhood photos. After One Day It All All Sense came out, Lynn’s first daughter was born.
At about the same time, Lonnie was noticed by MCA label, which offered him a contract. In 1999, the rapper moved to New York to work with Soulquarians.
In March 2000, Lynn presented a new LP, Like Water for Chocolate. It was impressively commercially successful. In the first week, the album sold 70,000 copies. One of the singles featured in the LP, “The Light”, brought the rapper a Grammy Award. At that time, many organizers tried to book Common for private events.
In 2002, the artist released his fifth album, Electric Circus. In this LP, the rapper slightly moved away from the classic hip-hop. The sales of this album weren’t as huge as for the previous one, but the LP still did well.
In 2004, Common began working with Kanye West and his label, GOOD Music. In May 2005, he presented a new LP, Be. The album turned out to be commercially successful, selling 185,000 copies in just the first week after the release. It topped US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and US Top Rap Albums Charts.
In July 2007, the artist presented the 7th LP, Finding Forever. In the first week, the album sold 150,000 copies. It topped numerous charts, including Billboard 200 and Top Rap Albums Chart.
In December 2008, the rapper released one more album, Universal Mind Control, which conquered U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums.
In 2009 and 2010, Common landed several secondary roles in the movies, so the new album came out in 2011. The rapper called it The Dreamer/The Believer. The LP reached the 18th spot of Billboard 200.
After a short break, Common continued on his music career. His new album, Nobody Smiling, which came out in 2014, was dedicated to the growing criminal activity in Chicago.
In 2016, the rapper presented his 11th LP, Black America Again. It came in third on Top Rap Albums Chart.
Since 2003, Common is working on his acting career. He has been getting numerous secondary roles in TV series and movies. Lynn also worked as a model and filmed commercials. He is an activist, who is fighting for the rights of underprivileged youth in the USA.
Common continues recording new songs and performing live.