March 13th 1972 is the birth date of Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., better known as Chicago’s own Common, or Common Sense to us Hip Hop purists. I never really got why he dropped the ‘Sense’ – being a conscious rapper and all, but I digress… Common’s career dates back to the early 90s. He began gaining critical acclaim w/ his sophomore release Resurrection ,which featured the instant classic, ‘I Used To Love H.E.R,’ produced by No I.D.
Common uses an extended metaphor to describe the complex evolution of his relationship with what at first seems like a female, but by song’s end we find out he’s actually talking about Hip Hop her/itself. The acronym in the song’s title (H.E.R.) has multiple meanings, doubling as ‘Hip Hop in it’s Essence is Real’ and my personal favorite, ‘Hearing Every Rhyme’ (i.e. I Used to Love Hearing Every Rhyme).
To date Common has dropped 10 albums and won many awards, most notably Grammys for ‘Love of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop)’ feat. Erykah Badu and ‘Southside’ feat. Kanye West. He’s also spawned a successful acting career, having appeared in over a dozen films, wrote a book, and is an avid animal rights and HIV awareness activist. Additionally, in 2000 he founded The Common Ground Foundation, a Chicago based non-profit organization that aims to empower underprivileged youth (www.commongroundfoundation.org).
Truly one of Hip Hop’s good guys, Common more than merits not only a resounding Happy Birthday, but also a JP Lime salute! Go!