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Hip-Hop Wired recently caught up with Common and chopped it up about the crime rate in Chicago and his upcoming music and acting projects. 

Peep what Chitown’s finest had to say:

Hip-Hop Wired:  I hear you rapping about having this SAG card, are we in danger of you retiring to act fulltime?

Common: I don’t see myself retiring, God willing I just keep growing as an artist. I look at different ways to put out music. Right now I’m working on a song with Cassandra Wilson and Terrence Blanchard.  Now that’s jazz but I’m doing it different, like I’m not just rapping on it, it’s actually more of a spoken word/jazz type of think.

I love Jazz music so it made me think about doing a jazz album at some point. Of course acting is a priority for me and I’m focusing on that, but I want to be able to interview with you and we talk about Oscars. We’ll put it out there and make it come to fruition.

Hip-Hop Wired:  You’ve also been engaging in voiceover work and you just had the Superbowl Gatorade commercial.  Do you think you have a leg up on that considering all your raps?  [More]

Common: Yes I can come into the studio and be confident and be like oh boy my voice sounds weird. You still have to channel different things in a voiceover but I have two advantages.  I rap so I’ve been in the studio a lot and I’m an actor so I know how to get into character for what’s needed.  I’ve been seeing a lot of spots and being like man I like that whole “What’s G” and “That’s G,”  (Gatorade) it feels authentic and pure to me.

I like when I see spots that really get my attention. I don’t watch TV and do stuff like that too much, I don’t be all into popular culture all the time. Overall I walk in my own path. I embrace the world but I don’t know all the reality shows and stuff like that so when a commercial can get my attention that’s saying something.

Hip-Hop Wired:  Your former producer NO I.D. is finally getting his shine.  He pulled in a few Grammy’s with his work with Jay-Z and Kanye West…

Common: That’s my man and I’m very happy for him.  I congratulated him.  It’s so well deserved; he’s a talented dude, he just being true to what he’s been doing for a long time. More Grammys for him to come. I know he’s really excited.

Hip-Hop Wired:  What’s up with you and the new project?

Common: The new album is called The Believer. I actually don’t have a date but I’m planning for this year. I’m working with No I.D. and Twilight Tone and Kanye. It’s the raw Hip-Hop.  It’s gonna uplift the spirit. It’s the people’s music, that’s what I’m doing.

Hip-Hop Wired:  Chicago made a lot of news last year with the rise in teen violence and the murder of Derrion Albert.  What’s your take on what’s going on in your city and this epidemic sweeping the country?

Common: First of all, it’s very painful for me to see our people killing each other. I know it’s definitely difficult times so I understand under stressful times how we can react. Some of the solution can be that we have to really start teaching our youth respect and listening to them and seeing what they need and want and treating them with respect and teaching them how to respect themselves and others. Because honestly when anybody is going to kill somebody that means you gotta be going through your own pain and suffering yourself.

Somehow we gotta find out those that are going through that pain and teach them better ways to deal with it. That’s gonna come from home, having family members around, from school programs, from afterschool programs. I’m plugging but I established the Common Ground Foundation to provide the youth with other avenues to express themselves.

For more information on the Common Ground Foundation, click here: