Chicago MC Common is a busy man. He is currently in production of the second season of the AMC drama Hell on Wheels. The man formerly known as Common Sense is also promoting an upcoming independent film, Luv. While on a break from filming and promoting his upcoming projects, Common briefly met up with The Urban Daily at an event for Western Union’s Thanks A Thousand campaign in New York City to talk about his upcoming film, his role on  Hell on Wheels, and 2Pac’s hologram Coachella performance.

When you’re done with the interview, check out the freestyle he busted at the Western Union launch party.

TUD: Can you tell me a little bit about Western Union’s Thanks A Thousand campaign?

Common: The campaign is about showing gratitude to a loved one. You get to go on and submit a message–either a video, a brief essays, or a photograph–somewhat expressing your love to someone you care about. It can be your friend, family member, teacher, or anybody in the world that you feel. Once you upload it, you have the opportunity to win $1,000, which will be real cool. But the big thing is to express your gratitude to somebody you care about. I’m the spokesman for the campaign because I’m one of those people who give thanks. I’m grateful for where I am and for the people who’ve shaped my life.

Who would you be making your video about?

My mother because she really gave a lot to me. If I had to choose anybody else, if I had to go beyond my mom, I would go to my math teacher. From the fourth grade up until the eighth grade, he had a profound effect on my life.

I just spoke to Datari Turner and we spoke very briefly about you guys’ new film, Luv. Could you tell me a little bit more about it?

Luv is an independent film that will be coming out in October. It’s directed by Sheldon Candis. I’m starring in it along with a young man named Michael Rainey Jr., Danny Glover, and Dennis Haysbert. The story’s about a guy who is just released from prison that wants to straighten his life out. He takes his nephew out for the day to show him the ropes of the business world. However, the streets start calling him back and he gets sucked into things he ‘s trying to stay away from. Eventually, the day goes bad. It’s really about the lessons his nephew learns through his uncle on that one day.

Would you say this is a departure from other roles you’ve had before?

I would definitely say this role is a departure for me. At the same token, I have played characters who’ve dealt with the street elements. I think this character has more depth. You get to follow his story longer. It’s a blessing that I got this role. I’m actually a producer on the film as well with my company Freedom Road Films. This film and my role on Hell on Wheels are my two most in depth roles.

We have to talk about hip-hop for a second. The big thing in hip-hop right now is 2Pac’s hologram image performing with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg at Coachella. Would you ever consider doing that with J Dilla’s image?

Yeah, that would be incredible. I would love to do something like that. I mean J Dilla is one of the greatest influences on me ever in my career. He is one of my greatest friends since I got to know him. I would love to pay homage to him and do that.

The whole interaction thing was crazy!

It was? I didn’t even get a chance to see it.

It’s all over Youtube or you can go to and check it out and other stories. Yes, I just dropped a shameless plug into our conversation. [laughs]

[laughs] I’ll have to check it out.

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