Rap Genius x Vibe Present: Common’s 20 Greatest Lines In 20 Years


| October 5, 2012 - 4:08 pm

Back in 1992, Common asked the world a simple question and in doing so embarked on a career that would mold him into one of the most esteemed lyricists in hip-hop. Twenty years later, Rap Genius joins Common to celebrate—and make sense of—two decades of clever wordplay, street poetry and ever-evolving hip-hop. Common’s very first album, Can I Borrow a Dollar?, which dropped on Oct. 6, 1992, was playfully lyrical, filled with onomatopoeia, pop culture references and amusing metaphors, but the subjects of his verses were both deep and uncommon from the first track. Over the years, Common has crafted classics that fearlessly address afrocentricity, spirituality, racism, violence and poverty in the ghetto, sexuality and politics. His albums stretch from spoken word to neo-soul to eccentric funky electronic. Today Common reps for President Obama and raps alongside fellow hip hop heavyweights on Cruel Summer. The range and longevity of his career, both in the booth and on the screen is to be admired. We’re happy to celebrate 20 years of good music from Common with 20 of his best lines. —Nicole Otero & Shawn Setaro, Rap Genius Editors