Common is an actor and a music artist who has become one of the more prominent voices in hip-hop's new millennium renaissance.
Born with the name Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. in March 13, 1972, Common is the son of educator Ann Hines and former ABA basketball player turned youth counselor Lonnie Lynn. Raised in Chicago, his parents divorced when he was 6, resulting in his father moving to Denver, Colorado. Although this left Common to be raised by his mother, his father remained active in his life and even landed him a job with the Chicago Bulls during his teen years.
Common attended Luther High School South in Chicago and, while in school, formed C.D.R., a rap trio that opened for acts like N.W.A. and Big Daddy Kane. Later, he left the group when he attended Southern University in Baton Rouge to study business administration.
In 1992, Common debuted with the album “Can I Borrow A Dollar?” and maintained a significant underground following into the late 1990s. His first major label album, “Like Water for Chocolate,” received widespread critical acclaim and moderate commercial success. Nevertheless, its popularity was matched by 2005's “Be,” which was nominated in the 2006 Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album.
Following a series of successful albums, Common eventually ventured into show business as he guest starred in an episode of Girlfriends in 2003. This was followed by a voice acting gig on the animated series Game Over and an appearance on One on One. In 2006, he graced the silver screen as he was cast in Smokin' Aces and in American Gangster as Turner Lucas, the year after. Common’s other credits include Street Kings, Wanted, alongside Morgan Freeman, and Angelina Jolie and Dave Chapelle's Block Party. He was also in Brown Sugar and Justice League: Mortal, and has made an appearance on the series So You Think You Can Dance as a performer. In 2008, he landed a role in the movie Terminator Salvation, alongside Christian Bale and Anton Yelchin. He later appeared with Steve Carell and Tina Fey on Date Night, before getting cast on AMC’s series Hell on Wheels.
2011: Hell on Wheels (TV series) - Elam
2011: The Odd Life of Timothy Green
2011: Single Ladies (TV series) - Mayor Howard
2010: Just Wright - Scott McKnight
2010: Date Night - Collins
2009: Dow Jones (video short) - Dow Jones
2009: Terminator Salvation (Video Game) - Barnes (voice)
2009: Terminator Salvation - Barnes
2009: Wanted: Weapons of Fate (Video Game) - Brummel (voice)
2008: Wanted - The Gunsmith
2008: Street Kings - Coates
2007: American Gangster - Turner Lucas
2006: Smokin' Aces - Sir Ivy
2004: One on One (TV series) - Darius
2004: Game Over (TV series) - Common (voice)
2003: Girlfriends (TV series) - Omar