Common's Early Years, 1992-1997, Covered on CD From Relativity/Legacy


Common, star of next month's motion picture "American Gangster," has the early days of his rap career revisited with the November 27th release of "thisisme then: the best of common." This 15-track compilation covers 1992-1997 and includes all of the artist's solo hits from that period alongside collaborations with Lauryn Hill ("Retrospect For Life"), Chantay Savage ["Reminding Me (Of Sef)"], Erykah Badu ("All Night Long"), Cee-Lo ["G.O.D. (Gaining One's Definition"], Q-Tip ("Stolen Moments Pt. III"), and more. Common debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart earlier this year with the CD release "Finding Forever."

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"Sometimes the most telling aspects of an artist's career are their early works," writes Leah Rose, Music Editor of XXL magazine, in the liner notes to thisisme then: the best of common. "The ambitious and sometimes rough attempts that show the world who they are and who they are about to become."

Common's early works (before his 1999 major label signing) were the first three albums he recorded for (then) indie label Relativity Records: "Can I Borrow A Dollar?" (1992, for Combat, distributed by Relativity), "Resurrection" (1994, on Relativity's Ruth less imprint), and "One Day It'll All Make Sense" (1997, for Relativity proper). All six chart singles from those albums, plus a baker's dozen critically chosen album tracks (including a contribution to the "Soul In The Hole" movie soundtrack) are gathered on this first compilation of his career. Issued in both CD and vinyl formats, thisisme then: the best of common will be released by Relativity/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT.

Adding to the collection are four CD extra bonus video tracks: "Take It EZ" (Common's first Rap chart single, from "Can I Borrow A Dollar?"); "I Used To Love H.E.R." (from "Resurrection"); and "Retrospect For Life" (featuring Lauryn Hill) and "Invocation" (both from "One Day It'll All Make Sense").

In 1992, 20-year-old Chicago-born and raised freestyler Common Sense (as he was first known) could hardly imagine where the future would take him. One decade later, his heartfelt rhymes and uncompromising hip-hop attitude earned him his first Grammy Award (Best R&B Song for the #1 "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)" with Erykah Badu), and the first of several high-profile movie roles. Film has expanded the scope of his art into new directions, climaxing with his part in "American Gangster", starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, opening next month.

Earlier this year, Common's most recent album, "Finding Forever" (produced mostly by Kanye West) debuted at #1 the Billboard Top 200 Album chart - the artist's first #1 debut. In the school of hip-hop noted by the positivism of such literate (and often jazz-influenced) artists as De La Soul, Digable Planets, the Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, Jurassic 5, Gang Starr, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and others - Common has staked out his own unique and important position.

With music as his artistic foundation, Common has followed in the footsteps of other rappers (such as Ludacris and Mos Def) into film. His first support role was last year's Las Vegas-based action-comedy "Smokin' Aces", starring Ray Liotta and Jeremy Piven. Following his current role in "American Gangster", Common will be seen in two films next year: "The Night Watchman", a rogue cop thriller with Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie, and Forest Whitaker, written by James Ellroy; and "Wanted", the adaptation of the graphic comic novel, starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.

"Common's first three albums are truly a coming of age," Leah Rose concludes. "As one of rap music's most talented MCs, he literally grew up in the music that his loyal listeners still cherish more than a decade after its initial release. This collection of songs draws from that much missed era in hip-hop, when lyrical prowess was the hallmark of a rapper's success."


SOURCE: Legacy Recordings

CONTACT: Michele Scott of Legacy Media Relations, +1-212-833-7310,

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