Common Reveals Warner Bros. CEO Invited Him To Label

Lyor Cohen approached rapper, who departed Universal Music in 2009.

Last week, Chicago rapper Common revealed that he is taking his rhyme talents to target="_blank">Warner Bros. Records. Surprisingly, the “Universal Mind Control” rapper tells MTV News that he had been a free agent since December 2009, when he departed from his longtime Universal Music recording home.

The rapper and actor, currently shooting an AMC television series called “Hell on Wheels” that will premiere in the fall, released his last album, Universal Mind Control, in December 2008. The album was met with mixed reviews and didn’t reach the same gold sales of his previous two projects, the critically acclaimed Be and Finding Forever.

But a certain record executive didn’t lose faith in the veteran rap lyricist. “Point blank, I got a call from [Warner CEO] Lyor Cohen,” Common told MTV News. “He was like, ‘Look, man, I know who you are. I always told you, you was one of my favorite MCs, and I really meant that.’

“I felt the sincerity in what he was saying. He didn’t tell me, ‘We’re going to do this, do that.’ He was more like, ‘I know how we can do your record, and I want to work this. I want this to be on my roster.’ ”

The Warner music chairman knows a thing or two about talent. Through the years, “the check writer” has had a hand in the careers of star MCs such as Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Jay-Z. Before getting the call from Cohen, Common had been toying with the idea of going the indie-label route to release his music.

“I felt like, man, it would be good because it’s so much … we do have a lot going on,” Common explained. “I am doing these acting projects. I do have my foundation. I do have a daughter and a life, too. So it’s all these things I want to take care of, I felt like I didn’t want to have an independent label that I felt like you gotta be there for everything, every decision. I’d rather have a team that’s already in place that’s really confident in what I’m doing.”

Although G.O.O.D. Music recently inked a worldwide label agreement with Island Def Jam Music Group, Common is still affiliated with Kanye West’s label. “It’s still G.O.O.D. Music all day and night,” he said.

Common’s ninth album, The Dreamer, The Believer, is due out in November.

What do you think of Common’s decision to sign with Warner Bros. Records? Sound off below!