Past performers at the festival have included such big names in hip hop as Jay-Z, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Afrika Bambaataa, Q-Tip, De La Soul, Ghostface Killah, KRS ONE, Busta Rhymes and more.
Common as headliner fittingly adds to that stellar roster. Born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Common debuted in 1992 with the album Can I Borrow a Dollar? maintaining a significant underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained notable mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians in early 2000s.
Common’s first major-label album, Like Water for Chocolate, received widespread critical acclaim and tremendous commercial success. His first Grammy Award was in 2003 for Best R&B Song for “Love of My Life”, with Erykah Badu. Its popularity was matched by May 2005’s Be, which was nominated for Best Rap Album, at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Common was awarded his second Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, for “Southside” (featuring Kanye West), from his July 2007 album Finding Forever.
Common’s acting career also includes roles in the films Smokin’ Aces, Street Kings, American Gangster, Wanted, Terminator Salvation, Date Night, Just Wright, Happy Feet Two and New Year’s Eve. He also narrated the award-winning documentary Bouncing Cats, about one man’s efforts to improve the lives of children in Uganda through hip-hop/b-boy culture.
Most recently, Common won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song, for his song “Glory” from the 2014 film Selma, in which he co-starred as 1960s Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel.
Entering its 11th year, The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival will take place in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn July 8-11, 2015.
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