Common scored a major win at the 87th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night when he and John Legend won Best Original Song for "Glory." While the win symbolizes a lot of different things, for hip-hop it proves that an artist from the Southside of Chicago can emerge from rap's underground and, over the course of two decades, transcend and win awards that most rap artists would never have even dreamed of.
The 1992 version of Common -- then known as Common Sense -- was drastically different from the man we know today. He was a little rough around the edges, with a high-pitched, tongue twisting flow and content that often reflected Chi-Town's harsh reality.
Now, at 42 years old, Common is older wiser and a voice of hip-hop reason, but that change didn't happen overnight. Let's take a look at Common through the years, leading up to last night's Oscar win.
Broke CommonRelativity Records
Common wasn't always on top of the world -- his 1992 debut album was titled Can I Borrow a Dollar?. We're sure the Chicago MC doesn't have to ask for any more loans these days.
It wasn't until 1994's "I Used To Love H.E.R." when hip-hop fans really began to take notice of Com's skills. When he personified hip-hop as a woman he tugged on the heartstrings of rap fanatics everywhere.
Thug LifeJohnny Nunez / Getty Images
By 1996, Common was a respected spitter, but we didn't really see his aggressive side until he dropped the Ice Cube dis track "The Bitch In Yoo." Thankfully, these two gladiators eventually made peace, but it got ugly for a moment.
Man Of The People
Common's raps were always thought-provoking, but early on in his career his rhymes weren't always wholesome. Sometimes he referred to women as b--ches, and other times he rapped about smoking weed and drinking 40 ounces; but as Com matured so did his subject matter. With 2000's Like Water For Chocolate the Chi-Town spitter began to turn a corner, and on last year's Nobody's Smiling he used his entire album to address the rampant violence in his native Chicago.
The Sex Symbol
After solidifying himself a premier lyricist, Common shifted his image a bit, and with his 2000 single "the Light" he became one of hip-hop's leading men.
Since the early 2000s Com has been building his acting chops landing roles in "American Gangster" alongside Denzel Washington and "Wanted" opposite Angelina Jolie. In 2011 he earned a staring role on AMC's "Hell on Wheels" and last year played civil rights leader James Bevel in "Selma."
Academy Award Winner
Com reached new musical heights when he won a Grammy in 2008 for "Southside," but bringing home an Oscar last night puts the rapper and actor on another level. Bravo.