Common is known as a top-flight MC who is also working the Hollywood circuit as a budding actor, but he maintains that his success is rooted in his education. The son of an educator, Common knew that, regardless of the path he chose in life, a solid educational background would help him rise to the top.
"My mom was a teacher, so from the beginning, I knew I had to be well-educated and well-versed in different aspects of education," Common told MTV News at a Get Schooled event in Philadelphia, which was also attended by fellow MC Freeway and songbird Marsha Ambrosius.
The "Go" spitter said hitting the books early on allowed him to cultivate the skills he needed to crank out hip-hop hits.
"Education provided me [with] a foundation to go out and really pursue my dreams, 'cause it gave me the knowledge that I needed for many aspects of writing and just learning business and different things like that," Common explained. "Education just provided that foundation, so I appreciate it. I'm still wanting to learn more."
Just like his mother did, Common is asking young people to make the most out of their time in school, because then they'll be armed with the expertise to make the most out of their dreams.
"To my young people out there, I want to encourage you to step up to the Get Schooled Challenge," Common said, urging students to excel in their studies and imploring those who have dropped out to head back to school.
"It's time for us to improve. We want our lives to improve, we want you to be better and to achieve your dreams," he continued. "So you can go to GetSchooled.com to find out more, but I'm here to challenge you."
Stay tuned to MTV News for more information about how you can get the president to speak at your commencement celebration at the end of this school year. Get Schooled is a national program aimed at increasing high school and college graduation rates and promoting the importance of education, developed by Viacom in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.