Actor, author, and Grammy-winning musician, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. wears many creative hats. In between juggling his prosperous music career, Common continues to boost his SAG credentials, starring in AMC’s hit series, Hell on Wheels, and headlining the independent drama LUV with stars Danny Glover and Meagan Good. Now the G.O.O.D. Music vet can add another endeavor to his impressive resume: smartphone case ambassador. The rapper just partnered with protective case specialists Case-Mate as part of the company’s new “Right Case, Right Occasion” campaign, advocating the expression of style by accessorizing your mobile.
Before blessing the stage at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square for Case-Mate’s Fashion ShowCase 2013 event, we chopped it up with Com to discuss his new venture, tech fashion, the iPhone 5, 90s Sprite Commercials, and yes, the strong possibility of a Be follow-up being his next music project. FYI: Those who were MIA at the event missed a dope show and freestyle session.
Interview by Alex Bracetti (@AlexBracetti)
So you’ve joined Fergie and Selena Gomez as brand ambassadors for Case-Mate’s new “Right Case, Right Occasion” campaign. Tell us the purpose behind it.
They asked us did we want to participate in it. Once I heard what the whole movement was, dealing with style and fashion, really bringing whatever your taste, artistic perspective, or style is to smartphone cases, I really liked the idea. I like what Case-Mate represents and knowing their global presence is getting out there. I always think that so many things deal with expressions. So I looked at Case-Mate as being another way for me to express myself and for the people to express themselves.
How did the partnership transpire?
Actually, a cool guy we had worked with 15 years ago on the Sprite commercials contacted us. When he contacted us, we were really interested in the campaign. I was up in Calgary filming when my manager called me and said, “I really want you to pay attention to this. This is a good campaign to be a part of it.”
You know you just ventured into some straight 90s hip-hop fodder right now, right? Those Voltron Sprite commercials were classic.
Yeah, we did those commercials with myself, Fat Joe, Mack 10, the Goodie Mob, and Afrika Bambaataa.
As someone who pays attention to the specifics, what makes for a dope smartphone case?
It’s specific to your taste and what you think is fresh. For me, I like earth tone. Something that looks classy, but still looks progressive. I just like things that really have a style to it and keep it simple and fresh. What Case-Mate is doing, it’s like “yo, get multiple cases for numerous things.” Sometimes you might just wanna flip it with your outfit. It is an accessory. The way people choose to put on they jewelry, shades, or outfit to go with the cases—we have our phone out so much that it becomes part of your outfit.
It’s funny because I was thinking about when 2 Chainz the other day when we were about to do Made in America, he whipped out his box of jewelry. It’s really the same concept, just having something to situate your style.
Are you working with Case-Mate on your own line of cases?
Yes. The only thing I can say is the cases are a variety of me. As a man, you want something that looks manly and still has your style to it. Makes you feel slick and gentleman-like or rugged when you need to. When I design mine, I want to have the same diversity they have in their cases. Most of the cases are unisex, but some cases might fit more of a feminine quality, certain things a masculine quality.
You’re someone whose fashion has evolved throughout the years. How would you say the tech game has contributed to your style?
I can’t say it’s tremendously changed mine because, well, I use my phone, but I’m not a big techie. I mean, I do become aware of some things fashion-wise through technology. Obviously certain blogs people go to for certain looks and style. It allows you to purchase things and be in a place where you’re not traveling to, but you can get it. Technology has helped it in that way. For sure.
So the iPhone 5 was just released. Heard anything about it?
I don’t know all the details about it, but I know it was announced today and people are excited.
Is it safe to say an upgrade is in your future?
The funny part is, I just got the iPhone 4 [laughs]. So now I’m about to get the iPhone 5. I’m one of those people that don’t get things 'til later, but for some reason I’m open to getting an iPhone 5. I want to see what it can do. I really respect what Apple does.
So would your cases be built for the iPhone 5 or previous models?
Common: You know I haven’t really thoroughly discussed it. The seed has been planted and we’re going to make it really accessible for a lot of smartphones. iPhone 5 would definitely be one of them. I’m one of those people that when I create things, I want it to be timeless. Hopefully it’ll fit the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 [laughs].
I can’t bounce without asking something fans are dying to hear more about. Last month, you talked with us about the possibility of creating a follow-up to Be. That generated so much buzz on the Net. Is a follow-up something you’re seriously considering for your next music project?
As far as doing another Be, I can’t say we can do Be, but working with Kanye is something I really want to do. And with that being said, when the time permits and we can get in there, we’ll do something. And though it won’t be Be, it’ll be something fresh and have that spirit of what Kanye and me create as artists. Just know that it’ll have that spirit, that soul to it. The next project is coming and obviously the G.O.O.D Music album is hitting stores. I’m also working on some new solo music, looking at January right now.