I caught up with Common while he was doing promotion for Bungie and Activision’s expansive, new shooter Destiny. Before you get too excited, no, the rapper does not voice any of the characters in the game. Rather, he’s lending his signature rasp to Destiny’s promotional campaign as a gamer and a fan.
Why’d you decide to get behind this particular game?
I’m selective with my titles. But as soon as I saw the game, it reminded me of the fun that I had playing games when I was young. There was something about the world that was created. I’m just getting started, but I’m a fan. I used to play Halo with some of my friends that I grew up with. I was really into it. I love first person. I like the fact that Destiny is its own universe. It’s constantly developing. You never know when a new situation can happen. Other people can be involved. To be honest — with me — it started with the title: Destiny. I loved the title and then I just started checking it out.
Switching gears, you just wrapped production on Selma, the upcoming feature film focusing on Martin Luther King and the men and women behind the 1965 voting right marches. You played organizer James Bevel. What was that experience like?
It was one of the greatest experiences that I’ve ever had filming a movie, working with Ava DuVernay, the director — her sincerity and desire to get out great filmmaking, and to tell the truth about these people, to show that these people from different walks of life sacrificed a lot, were radicals but real people who made mistakes — the fact that she approached it like that… And, on top of that, we got to talk and build with Ambassador Andrew Young. And John Louis came by and was calling us by our character’s names. He was calling me James Bevel. It was deep… Just learning what Dr. King and the SCLC went through, and all the things they did just to accomplish voting rights.
From the way you talk, it’s almost like you have as much passion for acting as you do for emceeing.
I do. It’s not even an almost. I have as much passion for acting as I do for music. I’ve been doing music longer, so I’m more developed in that. But I want to be a great actor, so I’m going to keep working until I achieve that. I just did Run All Night with Liam Neeson.
Recently, there was a Game of Thrones mixtape to promote the HBO show. Any chance there will be any Destiny-related music?
I’m going to talk to them about it. If they’re open to it, I’d love to do something like that. That was a fresh way to promote Game of Thrones — which was already doing well. If we did a mixtape for Destiny, we could get a whole variety of eclectic artists and it would be a great grassroots way to promote the game. Gamers are in every walk of life just like music touches every aspect of life.