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Every Common Album Ranked

When speaking of elite lyricists in rap, acts from the East or West Coast are usually the first to come to mind for the average fan, who tend to overlook the Midwestern region of the country. However, it would be a grave mistake not to include Chicago native Common in any conversation revolving around beats, rhymes and life. Prior to groundbreaking Chi-Town products like Kanye West and Twista, Common (originally known as Common Sense) would be the first MC from the Windy City to gain widespread respect and acclaim for his rhyme skills. Using that spotlight to secure a record deal with Relativity Records, Common released three albums with the label, but would see marginal commercial success and be tagged with the stigma of being a conscious underground artist.

Reaching a breakthrough around the turn of the new millennium at his new label home, MCA Records, Common’s career would slowly begin to take off, his profile and visibility rising with each release. But it would be his partnership with former understudy-turned-rap king Kanye West that would take Common’s career to the next level and cement him as one of rap’s most celebrated and consistent lyricists of the past quarter century.

Although his budding career as an actor would impede the frequency of his album releases over the past decade, Common has remained dedicated to the art of rhyme and has managed to retain his mic skills with 25 years in the game to his credit. With his 11th studio album, Black America Again, released this year and continuing to make waves, we ranked each of Common’s albums — from the most underwhelming to his most entertaining. Where does your favorite stack up?

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