Common Signs Two-Year Deal With HBO

Austin Hargrave

Common photographed on Feb. 2, 2015 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angels.

Two months after Showtime ordered a coming-of-age drama produced by Common, the rapper/actor/producer has signed a two-year deal with competitor HBO.

The deal means that for two years, HBO has exclusive first-look rights at whatever projects Common develops through his Freedom Road Productions. Deadline first reported the news, which a rep for Common later confirmed to Billboard.

Common made his hip-hop debut in 1992 with the mostly-unheard album Can I Borrow a Dollar? before going on to greater success with follow-ups LPs, including the No. 1-peaking album Finding Forever in 2007, executive produced by Kanye West.

Backstage at the Oscars With Common & John Legend

The underground rap favorite started his acting career in the early '00s and moved into the TV/film production realm in the last few years, not long after co-starring with Queen Latifah -- a pioneer of the rapper-actor-production mogul career path -- in 2010's Just Wright.

Common and John Legend won an Oscar this year for best original song, that being "Glory" in Selma. He's set to play the gatekeeper in NBC's upcoming production of The Wiz Live!