With two Grammys, a Golden Globe, an Oscar nomination and a hip-hop career spanning more than two decades, Common is still making big plans. He credits his mom for inspiring the name, but his talents proved to be anything but "common," "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King reports.
"It's a beautiful year, and in 2014, I made my mind up that I wanted to plant seeds that would come into fruition, and I put that in my vision and in my prayers and in my thoughts," Common said. "The seeds I was planting was really discovering what my purpose is and really living in that purpose. I'm an artist that wants to help improve the world. I can do that through acting. I can do that through writing songs."
Later this month, he will be performing at the 87th annual Academy Awards.
"It's one of the greatest moments I could think of in my life, or dreams that I've never thought of as a kid, and when I was watching the Oscars that I would even be a part of it," Common said. "I'm really like, 'How am I here? What did I do to get here?' And I'm just grateful to be here."
He was asked to perform his and John Legend's Oscar-nominated song "Glory" from "Selma."
The film's director, Ava DuVernay, called Common with one request.
"She said, 'I need it to be like, "We Are the World,"'" he said. "And I'm thinking like, 'OK, Ava, you know "We Are the World" is, like, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Bruce Springsteen, Cindy Lauper, all these incredible artists. So you want us, me and John, to do, "We Are the World."'"
But he said he knew the spirit of what she wanted, so he called Legend.
"He said, 'We just gotta make it majestic.' And I said, 'Yeah, OK, that's right because this is for a film about Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement. It deserves that majesty,'" Common said.
When people talk about Common, they say, "He's a conscious rapper." It's something that describes his lyrics and style.
"I talk about social awareness in my songs. I talk about love. I talk about God. I talk about issues that I see going on," Common said. "Initially I was, like, 'Why are they boxin' me in?' But then I started to look at the legacy of conscious artists, whether it be Bob Marley or Bob Dylan, and I'm like, 'Yes, I'm conscious. I'm aware.' I'm embracing the title 'conscious artist' now."
In the early '90s, he was known as Common Sense but changed it to Common for legal reasons. It was his mother who inspired his original name.
"It was a phrase that my mother always would say, 'Use common sense. Use common sense.' That was her phrase, and it just sat with me," he said. "I really do feel I represent everyday people, the common folk. And now it just, it rides well."
His latest and tenth studio album was titled to represent those everyday people. It's called "Nobody's Smilin."
"I'm from Chicago, and it's been a lot of violence and poverty and lack of opportunity," Common said. "I entitled the album "Nobody's Smilin" because I was describing the situation that is happening in Chicago and in many inner cities around America."
He also has a prolific movie career, acting in films with Angelina Jolie, Denzel Washington and Steve Carell.
"I'm truly an actor. I loved theater from when I was a kid," Common said. "It was a point where as a musician I felt like I wanted to do something else. I decided to study acting."
In January, SpikeTV launched a new reality competition with the famed rapper as its host -- but the show wasn't about music or acting.
"When they asked me, 'Would you be interested in hosting this show about furniture?' I was like, 'OK, where do I fit in with this?'" Common said. "And I looked at the sizzle reel, and I was like, 'Wait, this is art.' I like cool things, whether it's art or furniture."
For any woman enthralled thus far, Common is single, but you'll have to fit the bill.
"The perfect things I would say is someone who's good-hearted, like, you know, treats people well and treats herself well, that is, has some sense of spirituality," Common said. "I like a strong woman, but at the same token, I'm a man that's going to say, 'OK, look, I'm going to lead this situation. So let's go.'"
Right now, he's instilling those ideals to his 17-year-old daughter.
"I'm teaching her that -- well, really teaching her more about herself," Common said. "By saying love and respect yourself and all others will respect you, meaning the men that you deal with, and your friends. You want even your female friends to respect you. So I teach her to respect herself and love herself."
After all he's accomplished, Common still has items on his bucket list. One of those goals is to perform on Broadway.
"I need that in my life. I need that as an actor and just for my soul," he said. "And I feel like whenever I get to that Broadway role, to be able to live in a role like that for that period of time, is going to be in my life for a purpose."
To hear Common's freestyle rap about "CBS This Morning," watch the video in the player above.