Common (previously known as Common Sense) is an American hip-hop artist and actor who debuted in 1992 with the album Can I Borrow a Dollar? and maintained a significant underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained notable mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians.
He is best known to television viewers for his starring role as emancipated slave Elam Ferguson, working to achieve true freedom in a world entrenched in prejudice, in the period drama western television series Hell on Wheels, since 2011.
As a multi-Grammy award-winning musician, noted actor, literary author, community activist and inspirational leader, Common has spent his career pushing boundaries and taking listeners out of their comfort zones with his socially conscious words.
Common rose to prominence as one of hip-hop's most poetic and respected lyricists having recorded over eight albums. He has earned two Grammy awards and several nominations. His ninth album, The Dreamer, The Believer, was released by Warner Bros. Records in November 2011.
With his continued work in film, Common has been seen on the silver screen in numerous box office hits, including the major motion pictures New Year's Eve and The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
An accomplished writer of multiple literary works, Common released his personal memoir, One Day It'll All Make Sense on 13 September, 2011 from Atria Books.
Common is a regular guest speaker at prestigious universities across America. In 2007, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, which empowers youth in urban communities.
Common also offers a younger generation a better understanding of self respect and love, by utilizing the cultural relevance of hip hop in the children's books he has written.