Source: WWD / Getty

One of the most well respected dual threats in the entertainment history turned 52 today. To celebrate Common’s legacy, check out a gallery highlighting the best performances of his music and acting careers.

Lonnie Rashid Lynn was born in Chicago, Illinois. Although his father was actively remained in his life, he was predominantly raised by his mother after his parents got divorced when he was six years old. In the late 1980’s, Common formed a rap trio with two of his friends. The group, which was called C.D.R., opened for acts such as N.W.A. and Big Daddy Kane. The group dissolved by 1991 and Lynn began a solo career under the name of Common Sense. After he was written about in the Unsigned Hype section of The Source, Relativity Records signed him. He would go on to release his first three albums (Can I Borrow A Dollar?, Resurrection, One Day It’ll All Make Sense) under the label and maintained an underground following.

After joining the collective Soulquarians, he gained his first mainstream success. Following that, he signed with MCA Records and released his next two albums (Like Water for Chocolate, Electric Circus). Common then signed to fellow Chicago rapper Kanye West’s GOOD Music label in a joint venture with Geffen Records. He released three albums under the deal, including his his first to debut atop the Billboard 200, Finding Forever. Since then, Common has released seven more albums, with the latest coming in 2021. Over his rap career, he has been lauded for his exquisite lyricism, intelligent and positive messages and his spoken-word style smooth delivery.

While becoming one of the greats of the rap game, Common was also cementing himself as a serious actor. His first appearance (that wasn’t as himself) on our screens came in 2003, when he appeared on the UPN sitcom Girlfriends. He followed that up with appearances on the television shows One on One and Scrubs. He made his big screen debut in 2007 when he starred in the crime film Smokin’ Aces. That same year, he was able to work with Denzel Washington in the crime thriller American Gangster. Since beginning his acting career, Common has been very active. He has proven that he takes his second craft just as seriously as he took his first one. Common is the first rapper to win a Grammy Award (he has three), an Academy Award, and an Emmy Award, putting him in a class of his own. He also has a Golden Globe under his belt. With accomplishments like this, it’s easy to understand why Common is respected as much as he is by his peers, regardless of field. To celebrate a true talent on his special day, check out a gallery highlighting the best of his music and acting. HAPPY 52ND BIRTHDAY TO COMMON!

1. I Used to Love H.E.R.


2. Smokin’ Aces


3. Resurrection


4. American Gangster


5. Retrospect For Life ft. Lauryn Hill


6. Wanted


7. The 6th Sense ft. Bilal


8. Just Wright


9. The Light


10. Now You See Me


11. Erykah Badu ft. Common – Love Of My Life

Source:Erykah Badu

12. Selma

Source:Rotten Tomatoes Trailers

13. Come Close ft. Mary J. Blige


14. Run All Night

Source:James Saechao

15. The Food

Source:Jano Najzib

16. Barbershop: The Next Cut

Source:Koron Bracey

17. Be


18. John Wick 2


19. GO!


20. The Hate U Give


21. Common & John Legend – Glory