Common

Common (originally Common Sense) has been one of the most highly influential figures in rap music, keeping the sophisticated lyrical technique and flowing syncopations of jazz-rap alive in an era when the mainstream and hardcore have increasingly threatened to obliterate everything in its path. His outward looking, nimbly performed rhymes, and political consciousness haven't always fit the fashions of rap trends, but his albums have been praised by critics, and he achieved mainstream popularity with a handful of gold-selling recordings. Additionally, during the 2000s and 2010s, he's juggled his recording career with a series of high-profile acting roles.