Common | Childhood, Career, Relationships, & Latest Tea


After his debut in 1992, Common’s managed to make quite a name for himself. He first became known as a talented rapper, but he quickly expanded to other spaces. We know him today as a fantastic hip-hop artist, actor, writer, philanthropist, and activist. He’s won numerous awards and nominations, and he’s sure to win many more.

He’s succeeded in every field he’s tried his hands at, and there’s little he can’t do. But how did he get to where he is today? How did his career blossom? And most importantly — what’s he been up to lately? Read on to find out!

Early Life

Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., aka Common, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 13th, 1972 to Mahalia Ann Hines, an educator, and Lonnie Lynn Sr., a former basketball player. His parents got divorced when he was only six years old, and his father moved away to Colorado.

Common’s always been passionate about two things in his life — rap and basketball. As a teenager, he got the chance to work as a ball boy for the Chicago Bulls, and he’s been their devoted fan ever since. Growing up in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Common was greatly impacted by the diverse musical styles of those decades. He developed a love for breakdancing and hip-hop, and it wasn’t long before he started writing his own rap songs.

It was in 1986 that he established his first-ever rap group. With members Corey, Dion, and Rashid, the group became locally known as CDR. They enjoyed mild success, often performing as opening acts for the likes of Big Daddy Kane. Dion continued performing together with Common even long after the group’s been disbanded.

While Common enjoyed performing and rapping, he still didn’t want to forgo his education. He applied to Florida A&M University, where he majored in Business Administration.

He attended the college for two years, but as luck would have it, Relativity Records started spreading into hip-hop and offered Common a contract in 1991. The rest is history.


After the CDR went their separate ways, Common started his solo career and decided that his stage name would be Common Sense. This was an immediate sign of what kind of a rapper he would become, and what type of lyrics would dominate his songs.

Unlike most rappers who talk about money and fame, Common quickly became recognizable for his thoughtful lyrics and a sophisticated rapping technique.

In 1992, he released his debut single Take It EZ, and his album Can I Borrow a Dollar came soon after. While both were moderately successful, Common’s career took off after the release of his sophomore album Resurrection.

The album received critical acclaim and got the name Common Sense noticed. Unfortunately, though, he was soon hit by a lawsuit. An Orange County reggae band under the same name sued him, and he was forced to change his stage name to simply Common.

In the coming years, Common honed his rapping style, and every new album outperformed the last. To date, he’s released 12 critically acclaimed solo albums and numerous awards for his talents. His first GRAMMY came in 2003 for his collaboration with Erykah Badu on the song Love of My Life, the second was for the song Southside ft. Kanye West, and the third one for Glory ft. John Legend.

Common tried his luck in acting as well, with his first appearance being in the sitcom Girlfriends. His big-screen debut was in the movie Smokin’ Aces, but perhaps his best work was in the 2018 film All About Nina.

He’s dabbled in film production and modeling, and he proved to be quite a successful writer as well, releasing his memoir One Day It’ll All Make Sense in 2011.

Common Relationships: Who Has He Dated

Common doesn’t hide his love interests from the public eye, and we’ve seen him in numerous relationships over the past few years:

Erykah Badu (2000-2002)

Taraji P. Henson (2005-2007)

Serena Williams (2007-2010)

Laura Dern (2016)

Angela Rye (2017-2018)

In the News

Seeing just how big of a basketball fan Common is, it isn’t surprising to find out that he performed during the 2020 NBA’s All-Star weekend in Chicago. Common was joined by Lil Wayne, DJ Khaled, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Jennifer Hudson.

During the All-Star game, Common and Chance the Rapper served as the team captains.

If you’re curious to find out more about Common, one of the most beloved rappers, stay tuned to The Shade Room!


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