Common: An Overnight Success 20 Years in the Making

February 5, 2015 5:40 PM

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Wow! In the last 26 days, gifted actor, producer and MC Common has won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture (with John Legend), received an Oscar nomination for the same song, played the role of James Bevel in the powerful movie Selma, narrated two Microsoft Superbowl commercials and appeared on the Today Show. For many, Common has exploded on the scene, but this explosion has been a long-term testament to discipline, patience, hard work, consistency, strategy and friendship.

I met Common 20 years ago when I was a kid working as senior brand manager for Sprite. We'd recently launched the Obey Your Thirst marketing campaign and were heavily involved in finding and showcasing nascent music talent with big cultural potential. Common was one of the first to bless the mic for...

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