Common has been one of the most enduring rappers the game has ever come across. Furthermore, the rapper has been able to grow as an artist and expand his artsy wings as an entertainer. Movies? Check! Television? Check! New album? Check! AllHipHop conversed with the Chi-town vet and got his thoughts on everything from Kanye’s new music to his current relationship with Ice Cube, a man he lyrically warred with in the 90s. Read all about it.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve evolved into quite the actor with roles like “Smoking Aces” and “American Gangster,” among others. How was it working with your co-stars in “Just Wright”?
Common: It was a fun experience to work with those actors. Latifah and Paula Patton they real cool. Latifah is like the queen point blank. She’s like a warm spirit, but still a leader, and she knows how to have fun. Paula Patton is always having fun, smiling, you know, kicking it, but is very serious about her work. It was some special times on the set, but working with them was so much fun.
AllHipHop.com: Did you need anybody to fill in for you during the basketball scenes from the movie?
Common: That was definitely my game. I have played in one [celebrity basketball game] where I did pretty good.
AllHipHop.com: You were also playing with some of the biggest names in the NBA.
Common: My game is surreal. You see what I was doing against D. Wade, and you know that was Scott McKnight, so obviously I gotta have some skills. I didn’t have no stunt double, like nothing.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think acting is the future of your career in entertainment?
Common: I definitely love acting a lot, and I’m having a lot of fun doing it. It’s like such a…it’s a career that I can have until I’m 70. I love what it is- I love the art of acting. Not even just Hollywood, I’m talking about some acting classes, to eventually doing plays, and keep doing film and TV. Yea, I do love it. You know I just did a TV pilot for AMC called Hell On Wheels that I’m real excited about, but when I talk about acting, I definitely am enthused and I know I am very passionate about it, but I don’t feel that that takes away for my passion for hip hop. I’ve just been spending more time doing that because it’s building my career, and it’s a way of life that I want for my future.
AllHipHop.com: Then there is your legendary rap career…
Common: But when I get in the studio and I get to working on Hip-Hop, I feel that feeling where it’s like, “Man I’m hungry and I love rhyming and I love making music.” So Hip-Hop is always going to be in my heart. It’s like if you got one child then you have another child, you’re still going to love both.
AllHipHop.com: Well, since you put it like that, how do you feel about Hip-Hop’s growth?
Common: Well I mean, Hip-Hop has its phases, and it’s like a human being. I’m 38, and I go through changes as a human being, I think Hip-Hop is like a living organism; it goes through changes- it’s not always going to be exactly what I think it should be.
AllHipHop.com: So, what do you do then?
Common: I just contribute what I can to give it something that I think is pure, something that is quality. I always seek out the artists that I think are clever, and farther, and got some skill. There still great Hip-Hop artists like there like Jay-Z, or Kanye, or I think Lil Wayne is really creative, and I think Drake is saying some real fly stuff. We got MCs out there, so I seek out the good, and the stuff that I ain’t really into, I hear in the club and dance with a girl for a minute, but don’t put it in my psyche too much.
AllHipHop.com: How would you describe the new music Kanye is putting out?
Common: Not majestic, but the word I want to say is like something that is still superstar about it, but you be like damn he still relate to the everyday person, even though it may be like superstar. I think that he hits on different subjects, and each style and says some clever stuff.
AllHipHop.com: Will you be on the album?
Common: Man I ain’t on there right now. I got a couple lines on this new G.O.O.D. music song that just came out, but maybe I will be on the album you know if it’s not done yet, it would be cool.
AllHipHop.com: What about you musically…where is that?
“[Kanye and I are] definitely going to do some music though. Yes, I’m working on [a new album] now…I’m focused, and I believe that the new album will come out in the spring.”-Common
Common: [Kanye and I are] definitely going to do some music though. Yes, I’m working on [a new album] now, I know I said I was working on it before, I was, but then I stopped and did promo for “Just Wright,” then stopped and did this TV show and was doing a couple other things that I needed to do. But now I’m focused, and working and I’m really- in all reality, I believe that the new album will come out in the spring. I’m looking at around April or May for the new album. It’s called The Believer. I had that title for a while to be honest. The time has come. It’s coming.
AllHipHop.com: And what about your acting? What’s next?
Common: I’m just looking at some film projects right now, but I don’t have anything that I have filmed already. But like I mentioned, I do have the TV show that I’m real excited about. It’s a TV show that takes place in the 1800s, in 1865, so it’s a period piece. It’s about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. It’s dope; I’m excited about that. It hasn’t got picked up, but if it’s a winner and gets picked up, then that’ll be coming out next summer.
AllHipHop.com: You and Serena were a hot item, but you broke up!
Common: Serena is just a beautiful woman, inside and out. We will always be close. Point blank. I will always have respect and love for her.
AllHipHop.com: Ice Cube and you had a pretty intense rap battle in the 90’s. Where are you two these days since you are both big in Hollywood and Hip-Hop?
Common: I ran into [Ice Cube] at Hip-Hop Honors, and it was all love. Point blank, when Cube and I had beef, I was a fan of his first and for most, I grew up like loving Cube. I still respected him as an artist, but I had to come at him. It’s like a boxer; if somebody challenge you in the ring, you got to go at him. But we all good now, and maybe we can produce a movie together or something.
AllHipHop.com: Anything else you are up to?
Common: I’ve been doing more spot dates. We doing some things like shows, I’m doing something with Diesel, with all these new MCs like Big Sean; it’s a presentation of MCs. I’m doing shows, definitely, but my focus is performing and recording this new album, along with obviously my acting career is definitely a big focus of mine too.