Rapper & Actor Common: “Uncommonly Blessed”
Grammy Award-winning rapper and actor, Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr, better known as Common, has brought his unique style and perspective to hip hop and on screen for nearly three decades. From hits with Erykah Badu and Mary J. Blige to hit movies with Queen Latifah and a host of appearances in award-winning series, Common’s rise to the top is anything but common or ordinary.
Common 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.
His first Grammy Award was in 2003, winning Best R&B Song for “Love of My Life”, with Erykah Badu. Its popularity was matched by May 2005’s Be, which was nominated for Best Rap Album, at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Common was awarded his second Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, for “Southside” (featuring Kanye West), from his July 2007 album Finding Forever.
Common won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song, for his song “Glory” from the 2014 film Selma, in which he co-starred as Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel.
So how does the 46-year-old do it all after so long? Common always pushes his talent and body to the limit, no matter his age.
“I believe I started my health quest somewhere around 25 or 26,” Common admits. “And it’s constant growing and learning more about diet and exercise and mental and emotional and spiritual health. I don’t think turning 40 really gave me a jolt or anything. I didn’t get more stiff or anything like that. In fact, I feel fresh and good! It’s a blessing to be here.”
“I heard rappers like KRS-One in ‘My Philosophy,’ say things about not eating meat, which was a real education, especially since it was coming from somebody cool. That stayed with me and made me want to learn more. As soon as I removed meat from my diet, I started to feel a clarity I didn’t have before. It sounds funny, but I feel like I was rapping better,” said Common.
Now, the Chicago-bred MC is a pescatarian eating fish and vegetables on a daily basis. In Common’s own words, health is all about making it work for you, as an individual.
“I just decided to be more aware of my health and well-being. I felt that beef and pork wasn’t good. I did my own tests and found what was and wasn’t really good for my system,” confirms Common. “You’ve got to eat the right things. It’s not just about not eating meat. You’ve got to find out what your body needs, what’s healthy for you. What’s good for life.”
The now forty-five year old continues to be in the best shape of his life. When asked of his drink of choice, the talented rapper isn’t shy about what helps him throughout his day, “Water. I always take water. I love water, I’m a water sign!”
In addition to his diet, he also keeps his body tight with exercise.
“I work out four days a week and if possible, five,” explains Common. “But I’ve been improving my workouts by doing…