Eastern Michigan University students will have the chance Oct. 18 to meet hip-hop lyricist Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., more widely known as Common.
Common, a renowned hip-hop artist, actor and philanthropist, will be holding a book signing at 7 p.m. in the Student Center’s Grand Ballroom.
His new book, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense” – a title taken from one of his previous albums – provides readers with a retrospective look on his life in and out of the entertainment business.
In the book, Common discusses the major influence his mother – Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines – has had in his life and where it has led him.
He also references his encounters with the many notable public figures he’s known – many of whom are going down in history for their extensive contributions to our country and the world – and what they have taught him.
But one thing wasn’t mentioned in the press release that was blasted to students. What was mentioned was a significant amount of name-dropping.
Most of the names were inserted to build hype and promote the book; celebrities such as Tupac Shakur, Biggie, Queen Latifah, Kanye West, Davie Chappelle and Barack Obama.
While name-dropping is used quite often in public relations and is not usually a bad thing, with all these famous titles being thrown at students, it’s hard to see what the event is really about: Common.
Common can hold his own.
The career of the 39-year old-actor has flourished for many reasons, none of which was riding coattails.
Lonnie got his start on the streets of Chicago. As a youngster he formed a group called C.D.R. that opened for well-known headlining groups such as N.W.A.
Apart from the trio, Lonnie acquired an underground hip-hop music following while attending Florida A&M University. He also took hold of a new stage name: Common Sense.
Sometime in the mid-’90s he dropped the Sense and started going by just Common.
Since then, he’s compiled a large amount of work – nine albums – most of which have sold well due to his large hip-hop following, and even won a Grammy.
And of course – like most known artists – Common has done work with many popular and influential artists and groups such as The Neptunes, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Soulquarians, Lauryn Hill, The Roots and West, to name a few.
Common has risen to stardom for the same reasons he became popular in the underground hip-hop community: He has strong, ethical feelings and an unwillingness to let local and global problems go unheard of or critiqued.
With a deep respect in the music community, Common has leveraged his fame to not only begin a worthy acting career but also to fight for various causes. This has involved everything from aiding Obama with a campaign song during the election to writing morally sound children’s books.
His latest achievement, The Common Ground Foundation, is a non-profit children’s organization he started in 1997.
It aims to help empower underprivileged kids by preparing them for success in the world. This is done educational development with an emphasis on leadership, creative expression and empowerment.
EMU’s Center for Multicultural Affairs, Diversity and Community Involvement, along with Campus Life and Student Government, are sponsoring this event.
The ballroom doors open to the general public at 6:30. Seating is limited, tickets aren’t required.