Born and raised on Chicago’s southside, Common has long been a fixture in the hip-hop world. Before Common, there wasn’t really much attention paid to Chicago as a city with it’s own identity in the scene. Common began to form an identity with his album Resurrection released in 1994. This album was produced by his longtime friend No I.D. who was also crucial to bringing Chicago to the world as a mentor for both Common and Kanye West.
Common stayed away as much as he could from the trend of 90’s hip-hop trending more towards gangsta rap and used his music to focus on doing what he could to better the world around him. That doesn’t mean he shied away feuds though. He did have a brief battle with California group Westside Connection before both sides sat down with Louis Farrakhan to settle their dispute (which is a very 90’s hiphop kind of thing to do, isn’t it?).
Nowadays, like so many other 90’s hip-hop stars, Common is probably best known as an actor. He still makes time to use his fame to promote his brand of political activism. He was a huge supporter of Obama during both presidential campaigns, a supporter of PETA (ugh) and continues to work to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS. He’s done all of this while almost always rocking a really solid beard too.