Common: Emmy for ‘Letter to the Free’ would bring him closer to hip-hop’s first EGOT

Common missed out on an Oscar nomination earlier this year for his original song “Letter to the Free” from Ava DuVernay‘s acclaimed documentary “13th” about American mass incarceration, but the TV academy made it up to him this summer with his very first Emmy nomination. Streaming on Netflix, “13th” is the latest in a line of Oscar-contending docs that have also been eligible at the Emmys, including “Citizenfour,” which won both Emmy and Oscar in 2015, and this year’s other nonfiction Emmy contenders “O.J.: Made in America” and “The White Helmets,” both of which won Academy Awards earlier this year.

That dual eligibility is good news for Common because he already has an Oscar, but he’s never won an Emmy. And if he prevails in the race for Best Music and LYrics it will be an important milestone for him as it would put him within striking distance of EGOT. All he would need after that is a Tony. Check out our gallery below of other artists who are just a Tony away from EGOT.

His aforementioned Oscar was for another DuVernay film, “Selma” (2014), for which he won Best Original Song for “Glory” with John Legend. He won the first of his three Grammys in 2003 for Best R&B Song for “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop).” Then he won Best Rap Duo/Group Performance for “Southside” with Kanye West in 2008, and most recently “Glory” won him the award for Best Visual Media Song in 2016.

So how might he get that Tony? He could always compose a score — “Hamilton” proved there’s an appetite for hip-hop on the Broadway stage. Common is also an experienced actor, so he could take the stage himself for a role in a play or musical. Or maybe he could follow his “Glory” collaborator John Legend’s path. Legend just won a Tony as a producer of the play “Jitney,” which won Best Play Revival. It’s worth noting that EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg also won her Tony as a producer, for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” which won Best Musical in 2002. If Common achieves EGOT status he won’t be the first musician, but he’ll be the first black male artist and the first rap artist.

Do you think Common will win? Now for the first time ever, Gold Derby is offering you the chance to predict the Creative Arts Emmys as a separate event, including Best Music and Lyrics! The two ceremonies for 2017 will be held in downtown Los Angeles on September 9 and 10. You can pick the winners for 24 categories now in our predictions center.

If you had already chosen such categories as guest acting, variety special, special class program, and reality host in the Primetime predictions event, those are no longer there. Simply jump into our new predictions event titled Creative Arts Emmys 2017 and make your picks there.

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