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Common sense: Rapper speaks at Ohio State

Anna Duee / Lantern photographer

Although he rapped about things that are common to Ohio State, such as Oval Beach and Aaron Craft, rapper Common told students to be anything but common.

Common, the author, actor and Grammy Award-winning artist who released albums such as “Be,” visited OSU’s campus Monday and spoke in the Ohio Union’s Archie M. Griffin East Ballroom. About 700-800 students were in attendance, said Ohio Union Activities Board adviser Katie Krajny.

OUAB sponsored the event.

Common’s lecture was titled, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense,” which is also the title of his newly released book.

As Common, whose real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., climbed the stairs to the stage almost every seat was emptied, as attendees stood and welcomed him to the podium with screams. He waved to the crowd as they took their seats and calmed down.

The lecture began with a freestyle rap, mainly about being a rapper. The rap also included more than 10 references to OSU, ranging from Raising Cane’s Chicken, to basketball player Aaron Craft and The O Patio & Pub.

At one point in his freestyle, Common told the crowd, “I might kick it where? At Oval Beach.” And later, he said, “I’m kicking that classic stuff, like Jesse Owens. I keep on running. Yo, you know that math? You can’t stick me, just like my man Aaron Craft.”

He finished the rap with the line, “I came to Ohio State to speak about greatness.”

Common talked about finding the greatness within you, allowing yourself to be unique and choosing the correct path and following it.

“Finding your path is one of the best things you can do,” Common said. “Once you find your path, that is only the beginning. You have to believe in your path, and you will believe in yourself.”

Throughout the lecture, Common quoted numerous influential people throughout history, including Nelson Mandela, Frederick Douglass and Tupac Shakur.

Quoting Douglass, Common told the audience, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” He repeated Douglass’ quote to the crowd to connect his ideas that everyone has to find their path and work toward accomplishing their goals.

The main idea Common stressed in “One Day It’ll All Make Sense” was to believe in yourself, fight through the obstacles and find the greatness that everyone has in themselves.

“Greatness is when you can achieve the highest level within yourself, but you are also able to influence others to achieve their highest level,” Common said.

After Common spoke, students lined up at two microphones and asked him any question they could think of.

From more than one female admirer, Common was asked what type of women he looks for and if he is single. He joked back with the audience, and laughed when girls asked about his personal life.

The questions asked were comical and serious. One student asked Common what his dreams are, and another asked how to avoid being common when mainstream music is becoming less distinctive.

“You just have to be yourself,” Common said. “What do you have to lose? Nobody here can judge you. As Tupac said, ‘Only God can judge me.'”

A few students said Common was the right speaker for college students because of the decision-making processes most are undertaking, such as choosing a major.

“What (Common) said really related to college kids, and finding your own path,” said Taylor Anderson, a first-year in pharmacy. “We are here trying to figure out what we want to do. He helped people who are struggling to pick a major to find a voice and know that it is OK to not know where you are going in life.”

OUAB chose Common as a guest because of his versatility, Krajny said.

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