Three years have passed since Common last released an album, but on Dec. 20th the Chicago-bred rapper-turned-actor released his ninth record, The Dreamer/ The Believer. After putting music on the back burner to appear in several films and the AMC TV series Hell on Wheels, the 12-track record – featuring John Legend and Nas – has Common returning to the craft that first made him a household name. Over the past eight months, photographer Steven Taylor has been by Common's side as he put the finishing touches on the album. The 25-year-old Taylor first met the rapper years ago after a show at Atlanta's Tabernacle. "It was one of the coolest shows I've been to ever," Taylor recalls. "I remember when he was playing 'Go,' everybody was jumping up and down, and in the rafters it was shaking and it looked like the whole place was going to collapse. " In addition to snapping him in the lab recently with hip-hop veteran producer No-I.D., Taylor accompanied Common to the Big Apple and Haiti, documenting everything with his camera. "We're friends also, so it definitely gave me a little advantage of shooting him," Taylor says.
"Steven is such a dynamic artist and with his photography he is able to capture life in its truest way," Common tells Rolling Stone. "Working with him gets me excited about capturing each and every moment of whatever journey we may be on.” Never short of an adventure, Common's latest journey – as seen through Taylor's lens – can be seen in the photo gallery that follows.
By Charley Rogulewski