Common to bring message to SLU community

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Dubbed “The King of Conscious Hip-Hop”, Common, one of the most famous rappers in the industry, will be bringing his insights on diversity to the Saint Louis University community.
Presented by the Greater Issues Committee, the event will take place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 22 in the Wool Ballrooms.
“This will be a great opportunity for the SLU community.  He is a great role model for everyone of all races, colors and creeds,” GIC Chairman Luke Gatta said.
This is not the first time Common has spoke on a college campus. In 2009, he spoke at Memphis University, Wright State University, University of Rochester and California University of Pennsylvania.
Hailing from Chicago, Common’s career kicked off in 1992, but did not hit the mainstream with his music until 2000, with his first major label release “Like Water for Chocolate”.
Common has released nine studio albums, with his most recent, “The Dreamer, The Believer,” earlier this year.
Common is known for his thought-provoking and empowering lyrics. He has been nominated for 11 Grammy Awards, winning two.
Common’s significance in hip-hop culture is not lost on College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Jake Losey.
“He has to be one of the most inspirational rappers of all time. His influence on hip-hop culture is immeasurable,” Losey said.
Common has been known to collaborate with other superstars, such as Kid Cudi, Kanye West and Nas.
Aside from his musical exploits, Common is known as an activist and philanthropist. In 2007, he launched his own charitable organization, “The Common Ground Foundation,” a group dedicated to educating, informing and empowering urban youth.
Common has also appeared in multiple films, including blockbusters such as “American Gangster” and “Smokin’ Aces,” and has also written a memoir entitled “One Day It’ll All Make Sense.”
His fame, however, is not the reason why GIC selected Common to speak to the University community.
“While he is a celebrity, he is a celebrity with substance. He is someone I personally admire,” Gatta said. “A member of an inner-city community can be attached to this guy and listen to what he has to say.”
GIC members submitted Common as their speaker choice and met to discuss how he related to the Jesuit mission. They agreed that he would serve as a way to further the Jesuit ideals of SLU. Common was submitted to the administration for approval within two days.
Junior Matthew Greene of the Doisy College of Health Sciences said he believes that Common brings a fresh perspective to SLU’s speaker series.
“Common coming to SLU? There is nothing common about that. It is pretty rare to get such a triple threat artist, actor and activist to our campus,” Greene said.
Admission is free for students and tickets are available in the Busch Student Center room 319. The Wool Ballrooms are expected to fill to capacity, and students are recommended to arrive an hour early.
“It is going to be an extravaganza,” Gatta said. “We are thrilled about it. Let’s bring SLU, WashU, and the St. Louis community all together.”