Common, Award Winning Artist, Actor & Producer
Common talks about how he turned his passion for rap into a career as a hip-hop artist, family, equality and activating change.
- The day women took over. Let it continue. Now, women get paid as much as men do. Dr. Angelou looking from heaven's window telling young girls phenomenal women is in you. I was born in Chicago, Illinois. My home and my foundation has been my mother. She really taught me how to love by example. And in some ways can be very disciplinary and it made me look at women and know that, "I see a boss right here." My first entry into writing and music was because of my love for poets. Like Dr. Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni. And I wrote my first rap when I was 12 years old. And really that dreams just sat in my heart from that moment on. Man, I want to be a Hip-Hop artist. Knowing that my mother worked hard for me to be able to get into college she really barely knew I even rapped. It was a tough back and forth but when my mother saw that I truly was sincere and passionate, she just embraced it. And then we came to an agreement if things didn't pop off in two years then I'd go back to school. I guess she put her prayers in it because still working that. I wrote this story, a love story about a woman but it's really about Hip-Hop. Evolving to some of the gangster west coast stuff to becoming corporate and losing some of the integrity. And when I'm rapping it in the studio, my boy was listening and frowning the whole time. It was sounding like a sappy love song to him. And it wasn't supposedly cool to do that right? I wanted to show that to my friends in Hip-Hop and especially as black men and we should be able to express love and still be able to be yourself and be respected. Selma was a life changing experience for me. I really started to say okay, I have to identify things that I want to see change and start walking towards those things. Seeing Ava Duvernay being our leader, it reminded me of my mother. But then to learn about the people, the civil rights movement, the women who has sacrificed their lives so that we can live better lives. Okay, I'm a conscious artist. But what am I doing this activating a change. And whatever I was doing, I knew I could do more. ♪ When it go down ♪ ♪ we woman and man up ♪ ♪ They say stay down ♪ ♪ And we stand up ♪ ♪ Shots we on the ground ♪ ♪ The camera panned up ♪ ♪ King pointed to the mountain top ♪ ♪ And we ran up ♪ ♪ Somewhere in a dream we had ♪ ♪ An epiphany ♪ ♪ Now we right the wrongs in history ♪ ♪ Glory ♪ I've decided to put my creativity and energy towards activism. I just took the idea how this world is missing the equality that women deserve. So I wrote this for saying man, if we had women taking over the world, the world would get better. ♪ Respect for the ladies ♪ ♪ You can hear it in the flow ♪ ♪ Egos aside for each other we rise ♪ ♪ Since they done give us a life ♪ ♪ The whole world feel alive ♪ I do want to put hope and optimism and love out there. What I do with my art is always to honor the women and to uplift them and we as men should be courageous enough to do it. I want to do that with my music and empower women because I just believe that's the best thing. That's the right thing.