For more than two decades, Common has eclipsed expectations with his cunning lyrics and poetic flows. The Chi-Town rapper exemplified his lyrical prowess on albums like 2005's Be, 2000's Like Water For Chocolate, 2007's Finding Forever and his recent endeavor, Nobody's Smiling.
But aside from his hard-hitting and socially conscious lyricism, the appreciation for Common's music also stems from his faultless ear for production. He has worked with some of the greatest producers in the game, including Kanye West, No I.D., DJ Premier and more.
While Common has firmly planted himself in history as one of the hip-hop's most formidable rappers, he humbly still manages to pay homage to the rappers and producers before him. During his recent promo run for his 10th LP, Nobody's Smiling, Com sat down with XXL to name his Mount Rushmore of the best rappers and producers to ever do it. —Carl Lamarre