But through several albums, Common, though extremely respected didn't receive the sales success he deserved.
In 2004, rumours spread and then were confirmed that Common was working with his old friend and 2004 "It" rapper, Kanye West. It wasn't until 2005, however, when Common put out "Be" that his hard work finally paid off.
Still reaping the rewards earned by his largest album sales to date, Common continues to tour and is now expanding his creative endeavours to the clothing and children's literature markets.
MVRemix: Describe a day in your life around the "Can I Borrow A Dollar" era?
Common: It first started that I was down in Tallahassee, Florida. I was going to school a little bit, trying to take a couple of classes and I would come home, listen to some music... Go around, try to mess with some girls, gettin' bubbly at night. Start maybe writin' and then try and find what girl I wanna hang out with.
MVRemix: And in comparison to today, with "Be," what are the main differences?
Common: Well I ain't just out here tryin' to seek ass no more. I'm focused more on the goals that I've got set for my life. There's some similarities, you know I still read certain books. I still listen to music and create. More than anything, it's just less chasin' the ass.
MVRemix: Is focusing on being creative a challenge because of your time constraints?
Common: Nah, you've just got to know how to work out your time to your advantage. Try not to get caught up into too much wasting of time.
MVRemix: How do you deal with your now strong celebrity status?
Common: Because its been a climb, I appreciate where I am. Because I've seen what it's like to bring out a record and people not respond to it. People not knowing who you are and not getting the opportunity to get played on the radio. I've seen those things, so when it does happen, I'm like "Thank you God, thank you." I know it all comes from God anyway for blessing me. It's a blessing to be able to do this. It's a blessing to be heard, so I'm grateful for that reason.
MVRemix: Moving on to "Be" again, how did you hook up with The Last Poets?
Common: Ah man, I've loved their work for so long. They've been a big influence on me... I got to perform on one of their albums that's comin' up. We had connected and we re-connected at this Alicia Keys book release where we had all read some poetry. Once we created "The Corners," Kanye and I thought that it would be a great idea for The Last Poets to do something.
MVRemix: How many track in total ended up being recorded for "Be"?
Common: I would believe about seventeen or eighteen. I mean there was a lot more music made, talkin' about as far as music with vocals, probably about seventeen.
MVRemix: Is there any truth to the rumours of the "Go" remix with D'Angelo?
Common: Yes sir, yes sir.
MVRemix: Any idea as to when that will be coming out?
Common: Hopefully soon man, we workin' it out. Should be comin' together, should be comin' soon though.
MVRemix: Are there any other remixes planned?
Common: Yeah, we gon' have a new release of "Be," probably in the fall with some new joints on it.
MVRemix: What about the next single aside from the "Go" remix?
Common: That'll be "Testify."
MVRemix: Have you begun any work on your next LP?
Common: Not unless this "Go" remix goes there, you know what I'm sayin'? I guess I've began the thought process though.
MVRemix: There has been a fair amount of speculation around some of your lines on "Chi-City"? People have alleged that it was towards Nas. Now even though you've stated many a time that he's one of your favourites, is there any truth to the rumour?
Common: Nah, Nas is one of my favourite emcees ever. He's one of the kings. I'd never diss him ever, so... nah. When I say "Halftime niggas" I mean cats that's just in between where the real game is. The real game is people like me and Nas and Kanye and Jay-Z and Mos Def. Those cats.
MVRemix: What's currently going on with Soji?
Common: Oh, well the hats are in development. I believe we should have some hats out by the Winter. People will really dig them; they're fashionable, creative, classy hats.
MVRemix: How hands on are you with that?
Common: I'm right there, pickin' materials and decidin' if I like different shapes and things like that.
MVRemix: I remember last time when we were talkin', you mentioned you were working on writing some children's books? Any updates there?
Common: Yeah, the first one's comin' out in the fall and the next one's comin' out after. I'm continuing to write on those. It's somethin' that I love to do.
MVRemix: A la "Fight Club," "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight"?
Common: Probably Marc Anthony. He kind of gets on my nerves a little bit.
MVRemix: Aside from the "Go" remix, what else are you working on?
Common: I'm on "Late Registration." I did somethin' on the Floetry album and that's really it man. I ain't been everywhere, but I've been touchin' down on things that I think is important.
MVRemix: You'll be coming here to Vancouver on the 24th, what can people expect from your live show?
Common: Man you can expect one great Hip Hop performance. You can expect just good music, with energy and soul. That's what I wanna say, "Good music, with energy and soul." That's what they can expect.
MVRemix: Who inspired your live show?
Common: Michael Jackson, Big Daddy Kane, KRS One.
MVRemix: Any responses to the Michael Jackson verdict?
Common: I'm happy he wasn't guilty. I'm happy man, let the truth be known.
MVRemix: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have of you?
Common: That I'm self-righteous and that I think I'm Mr. Conscious guy and that I know a lot. I'm just all incense and green juices.
MVRemix: Any last comments?
Common: God is good, believe in yourself and the most high. Spread love, and thank you.
Lâ€™Orange and Stik Figa â€“ The City Under The City album review
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MVRemix Urban | Online Hip Hop Magazine | US and Canadian Underground Hip Hop - exclusive interviews, reviews, articles