In 2006, the Grammy Award-winning artist COMMON (The Gunsmith) made his big screen debut as a musical performer in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. In January 2007, he made his acting debut co-starring opposite Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Alicia Keys and Ryan Reynolds in Smokin’ Aces for Universal Pictures and writer/director Joe Carnahan. In November 2007, he co-starred opposite Denzel Washington in American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott. His most recent motion picture work was seen in David Ayer’s Street Kings, starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker.
Prior to acting, Common rose to prominence as one of hip-hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists, having recorded more than six albums: “Can I Borrow a Dollar?,” “Resurrection,” “One Day It’ll All Make Sense,” “Like Water for Chocolate” and “Electric Circus.” In 2004, he partnered with Chicago native and rap music megastar Kanye West to produce “Be,” which went on to garner four Grammy Award nominations. In July 2006, his video for the single “Testify” was nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Hip-Hop Video.
On July 31, 2007, Common released his critically acclaimed seventh album, “Finding Forever;” it debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart and went on to earn a Grammy. He’s recently wrapped production on his latest album, “Invincible Summer,” slated for a June 2008 release date.
In the last year, Common’s launched his Soji hat line and the Common Ground Foundation, which gives back and allows our youth to realize their full potential. The Foundation is dedicated to the empowerment and development of urban youth in the United States.
Additionally, Common offers a younger generation a better understanding of self-respect and love, using the cultural relevance of hip-hop in the children’s books he has written. The first one, titled “The Mirror and Me,” teaches lessons of life, the human spirit and human nature. His follow-up book, “I Like You but I Love Me,” was nominated for an NAACP Image Award; his third book, “M.E. (Mixed Emotions),” was recently released.