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Common Biography

Common was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of former ABA basketball player Lonnie Lynn. He was raised by his mother, Mahalia Hines, after his father left when common was six years old, moving to Denver, Colorado. After dropping out of Florida A&M University and being featured in the Unsigned Hype column of The Source magazine, Common debuted in 1992 with the single "Take It EZ" and the LP Can I Borrow a Dollar? under the name common Sense. Though popular success was virtually nonexistent, he established a solid fanbase among underground rap fans who considered him a socially conscious rapper. With the 1994 release of Resurrection, Common achieved a much larger degree of critical acclaim, especially among Chicago natives. The album sold well and received a strong positive reaction among alternative and underground hip-hop fans at the time. Resurrection was common's last album produced entirely by his long-Time production partner, No I.D.. The song "I Used to Love H.E.R." from Resurrection sparked a feud with West Coast rapper Ice Cube. The lyrics of the song criticized the path hip-hop music was taking, including the popularity of West Coast G-Funk rap. Ice Cube and Common insulted each other back and forth, finally meeting with Louis Farrakhan and setting aside their dispute. Following the popularity of this album, common Sense was sued by a Los Angeles-based ska band with the same name, and was forced to change his moniker to simply "Common". In 1997, Common released One Day It'll All Make Sense, which included collaborations with artists like Lauryn Hill, Q-Tip, Canibus, and Black Thought. The album, which made a point of eschewing any gangsterism in response to questions about his musical integrity, was critically acclaimed and led to a major label contract with MCA Records. In 2000, his fourth effort saw Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson executive producing and J Dilla producing all tracks but One - the DJ Premier-produced track "The Sixth Sense". Like Water for Chocolate was a great critical success and also something of a commercial breakthrough, earning Common his first Gold record, and greatly expanding his fanbase among critics and listeners alike. This album saw Common exploring themes (musically and lyrically), which were uncommon for a Hip hop record, as he does on the song "time Travelin' (A Tribute To Fela)"; a homage to Nigerian music legend, and political activist Fela Kuti. This album also saw the coming together of the Soulquarians - a cross-genre collective of like-minded musicians including Thompson, J Dilla, D'Angelo, James Poyser, Pino Palladino, and common himself. This group of musicians would also handle the bulk of Common's next album. The most popular single from the album, "The Light", was nominated for a Grammy Award. Electric Circus (2002 in music), was a departure from Common's previous releases (and indeed from sub-standard Hip hop Music in general), and featured common rapping over electric rock music, and electronica-influenced tracks. The album received mixed reviews and did not sell as well as Like Water For Chocolate, with most longtime fans being turned off by the album's experimentation. Common won his first Grammy with Erykah Badu in 2003 for "Love of My life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)", a song he performed with Badu (his then-girlfriend) for the soundtrack to the movie Brown Sugar. Ironically, his relationship with Badu ended that same year. His latest album, Be, was released in May 2005 on the G.O.O.D. music label, with most of the production handled by Kanye West, a fellow native of Chicago and longtime fan. Two of the tracks were produced by J Dilla, but it was Kanye's newly iconic status that greatly boosted the album's popularity, silenced critics claiming that Common's career was over, and earned him the second gold record of his career, with sales topping out at around 800,000. Hip-hop magazines hailed Be as One of the best albums to come out in a long time. The Source magazine gave it a near perfect 4.5 mic rating, XXL magazine gave it their highest rating of "XXL", and AllHipHop gave the album 5 stars. --WikipediaSigning the Common CV agreement
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