For some artists, reading their name on the list of Grammy nominees last week was a brand-new experience. Not Common. The Chicago rapper-actor has been a Grammy mainstay this decade, taking home trophies for 2002 (Best R&B Song with Erykah Badu) and 2007 (Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group with Kanye West). This year, he got nods in the categories of Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (for guesting on Kid Cudi’s “Make Her Say”) and Best Rap Album (his own Universal Mind Control). We got Com on the phone to find out how he’s feeling about the Grammy race, plus a status update on his next album, The Believer, and a couple of film projects.
EW: If I’m counting right, you were nominated eleven times before this year. Are you still excited when you get another couple of nominations?
COMMON: Yes, I was still excited to hear about it. It caught me off-guard. I was actually eating dinner with some of my friends in Washington, D.C. I got a text saying “Congratulations,” and I was like, “Congratulations? What’s going on? Did somebody say I’m getting married? Do I have a child out there I don’t know is coming?” [Laughs] So I asked the person — this was someone from my management team — “Congratulations for what?” and she told me, “Congratulations on your Grammy nomination.” Later, she texted me back, “You got two.” So I was very excited.
Do you think you’re going to win those awards?
I mean, I hope to win. I believe I’ve got a good chance.
The other people in the Best Rap Album category are Mos Def, Q-Tip, Flo Rida, and Eminem. How do you feel about the company you have there?
It’s some really talented people nominated. For me to be able to say I’m in the company of Q-Tip and Mos Def and Eminem, just to be in competition with those guys, is really cool for me.