What is there to say about Common? Aside from the fact, he's fine as all outdoors & even better, he has the intellect to match. As the lyricist, his music speaks to a select few, yet has the appeal to touch the lost so they can be found. Though his actors resume doesn't run as vast as his musical catalog, Common can rightfully say, he's made that cross-over. Not too many rappers have the opportunities to land lead roles, such as his latest role as Scott McKnight in the romantic/comedy Just Wright co-starring Queen Latifah.
We recently caught up with Common to discuss that role amongst other things.
Peep our exclusive below:
BA: Hey Common! How are you?
Common: I'm good, how are things with you?
BA: I'm well, can't complain considering I'm on the line with you. Now, you seem to have a blossoming acting career, how did you land the role in Just Wright?
Common: Well, my manager brought me the script & told me they were interested in me for the lead role & I was like man. Honestly, I wanted to check the script out because a romantic comedy because I had to see whether or not I would fit well with that & when I read the script, I felt it. The script had so much heart & soul to it that I felt man, this role would fit me. Latifah said, I was the only person she would have wanted to do the movie with, so the fact that she had me in mind was really a good thing. They had others they could have chosen, but the fact they chose me was great.
BA: Okay, well I'm sure the masses didn't mind watching you in it either. Now, what was it like working with the Queen?
Common: She is one of the best people to be around. She's a fun & good person. Very respectable. She can go from talking 'bout anything intellectual to you know, just sitting & having some wine having a good time. She's just a well rounded person. She's just real. She's a superstar, but she shows everyone around her with love, ya know?
BA: I kinda get that vibe from her, but you know, I don't know you personally, but you have that aura about you as well. Now given your character, how true to life was he to the real you?
Common: Well, we kinda have a few of the same qualities. Like Scott had a strong relationship with his mother, which I do have. Being in the position like having to be in the limelight in front of people & being known, he still wanted love & wanted to be in a good relationship. Just like he can, I can, or anyone for that matter can focus on the wrong things. Its hard being that sensitive brother & at the same token be a man.
Being a basketball player & an actor & an artist, you do have certain similarities. Like I said, whether its popularity, the pressures, etc. So most definitely we share some of the same qualities & there were some that differed. He was rolling with Bentleys, I really don't roll like that. I liked that he was sharp though (laughs). He dressed in some sharp suits.
BA: I can dig it. Now given the synopsis of the movie, do you find that men who are in the limelight such as that have a hard time honing in on whats real & what's not when it comes to living that lifestyle?Common: (hesitation) Yeah, it is hard because living that lifestyle, you know the people you're around, they enjoy that lifestyle too sometimes. Like, man, the typical women most feel they associate with like, man, that's the one because she's beautiful. Like sometimes you succumb to peer pressure, of what others feel or believe is beautiful. There are things that you can get up caught up in. I think the reality of it is, its a lot easier to get caught up in that world. I also believe that there's truth in that every player isn't caught up in the "model" type, you know.I've seen & know a lot of players whose wives are beautiful everyday looking women.
BA: Okay, I understand. I'm glad you touched on that because there are a few women who believe they have to look a certain way to appeal to these guys. So I'm really glad you touched on that.
Common: No problem.
BA: Now Common, in regards to the movie & your acting career as a whole, if you could land a dream role, what type of character would you be & why?
Common: Well, I'd like to play a role of Martin Luther King because not only was he a dynamic individual, he was an incredible human being. He had his flaws & I think it would be great to show that. I actually know that they were trying to do that role, however, I didn't get the chance to audition for it because they had selected someone already. I was auditioning for some other roles around that, but I would love to play a Martin Luther King type of character. A fictional character that was a preacher. No matter who you are, you're always challenged, you know God didn't put us here to be perfect. No matter how much money you have, no matter how spiritual you are, you're still going to be challenged. You're still going to make mistakes, those mistakes allow you to become greater.
BA: Funny you say you'd want to play a character such as that, as I was gathering things for this feature, I totally could envision you as a Malcolm X character, somewhere along those lines.
Common: You know, I'm with you on that. Definitely with you on that. Whats so huge about what you said is that there's this new TV show that I'm doing (Hell on Wheels) an AMC project & it takes place in 1865 dealing with the Transcontinental Railroad & my character is a slave but he's a rebel. He's revolutionary in his own way, not subjected to what the "man" wants. You know he has his own visions for himself & his people.In many ways he's like the father of the Malcolm X's . He's similar to that character of what Denzel was in Glory, you know someone who is resilient in fighting for what they believe in, you know? So you're right, I'm actually perfect for one of those roles. I'm blessed to even to be able to do this TV pilot, hopefully God willing it will become a TV show soon.
BA: Well you know, you have to claim it. The pilot itself sounds interesting, so I definitely will be on the lookout for it. But, honestly, you have to claim it, that's with anything in life. Its not everyday a person like myself gets to talk to a person such as yourself. So in a sense, I'm blessed as well to even be granted this opportunity.Common: So yeah with that being said, the TV pilot that I am taping WILL become a TV series. You'll see it soon, perhaps next year.
BA: See, we're feeding off each other here. Now what would this interview be if we didn't discuss what you're most known for; your music. When can we expect a new project from you?Common: A new album will be coming in the spring. I'm working on it now. I'm excited because with me, it takes time. I have to be motivated to do something. I can't just put music out there just because, so I'm motivated. I'm hearing like other music out there that I think is inspiring. I'm gonna be working with NO ID & Kanye West, working with producers that really inspire me, that's what's going to get me in that zone & keep me there. I'm really excited about it.
BA: I'm glad you're excited. Piggy backing off what you said, you can't make music just because, given that statement, what do you feel music of today or the industry for that matter is lacking these days?Common: I think it lacks some imagination. I think people see one thing that works & they stick to that & stay within that box. You know some try a sound that's a little rockish/euro & what's being played on the radio & by time you try it, it doesn't really sound like a fresh start, you know? Imagination is what contributes to that. When you hear Slick Rick tell stories that's him using his imagination. You know he'd be like he's got a story to tell, that's imagination.You know you got to have that, not only just in hip-hop. They might take real elements & create a world that's new in a way, that's where art & creativity comes in. I mean it all shouldn't be just about real stuff, you want to be able to have music that takes you somewhere else.
BA: I definitely agree with you on that Your Electric Circus was one of those exact albums that took me that same place you speak about. I know a lot of people felt that album went over their heads, but I felt it.Common: Awww man, thank you!
BA: Not a problem. In regards to your entire catalog, which would you feel is your best album?Common: I'd have to say BE. For the mere fact, when I think of every song on there, each one meant something to the album. It brought something to it. It wasn't too long, there weren't any extra songs that didn't matter. Every song meant something. It was pure, innovative, & it just came out at a beautiful time. I don't know, that album was just true to the core of who I am, but it also had radio friendly songs, which was good for me. It took my career to a new place.
BA: That's another favorite of mine. I will say, you have a nice collection of music that is timeless. As a fan, I appreciate your artistry.Common: Thank you so much!
BA: Now, for my ladies here on the site, I wouldn't hear the end of it, if I didn't tell you how attractive you are & the fact your fashion sense is on point is a plus. For that very fact, we nominated & featured you as one of our Morning Woods, you might wonder what that is, but its someone who is our Eye Candy that helps to jump start our mornings. So I had to let you know you have so much sex appeal.Common: (laughs) Thank You. Thank You. That's super fresh. I love that I'm part of the Morning Wood, that's a good thing right there.
BA: Yeah of course, I had to let you know you're thought of highly here on Baller Alert. Now Common, it has definitely been a pleasure & I'm sure there are other interviews to follow, but what can we expect of Common & the brand in the near future?Common: Well as far as the brand, as I mentioned, I'm working on a new LP entitled, The Believer which will be out in the spring. I'm starting to become more active on my blog & my twitter. I'm really working on my foundation, The Common Ground Foundation, that is really developing. We' have programs that we're running now in Chicago in the neighborhood called Inglewood working with the youth between the ages of 12-17 & we have programs that educate them holistically, that means from an academic prospective, health & wellness. We also have creative outlets for them like cooking classes & things they find interest in that they love to do so they can continue to grow as human beings to become leadersWe're teaming up with Dwyane Wade of the Heat with the programs running in Chicago. I'm really excited about that you know to further the Common brand. I'm just really focused on this.
BA: Now, whatever we can do in regards to your launch, let us know. We'll come out & support. We''ll help spread the awareness.Common: I really appreciate that. That's love. We'll definitely stay in tuned with you guys, so you all can be aware of what' we're doing & what's going on.
BA: Most definitely. I truly appreciate this opportunity & on behalf of our readers, we thank you & wish you continued success in the future.Common: Aight, for sure. You have a great rest of the day, aight.
BA: Thanks, you too!