When people name the best rappers alive today they typically name the Jay-Zs, the Kanyes, the Waynes, or the Nases, however, bear with me for a few moments when I say that Common is the best doing it today.

Why do we rationalize the talents of Hip Hop artists by popularity? When we talk about the best we talk about Grammy’s, we talk about record sells, and we talk about measurements of popularity. However, let’s frame this work around lyrics and lifestyle instead.

Here’s why Common is the real best rapper alive.

1. He woke America up with “Glory”

Common woke up America with his riveting lyrics in the song track “Glory”. His lyrics were lyrics of inspiration, intelligence, and righteous indignation. He inspired persons to think critically about the Selma of the past and wake up to the Selma of right now! They were statements of intelligence because they were not mere statements of having sex with women, selling drugs, or killing people but about killing apathy in our world. He assassinates apathy when he says,

“Justice for all just ain’t specific enough
One son died, his spirit is revisitin’ us
Truant livin’ livin’ in us, resistance is us
That’s why Rosa sat on the bus
That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up!”

Common said in his acceptance speech after he was awarded an Oscar, “As I got to know the people of the Civil Rights Movement, I realized I am the hopeful Black woman who was denied their right to vote. I am the caring White supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed Black kid who maybe needed a hand, but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. ‘Selma’ has awakened my humanity.”

2. He affirms women

In his song, “Testify” he talks about the struggle of a Black woman who was married to a man who was arrested and on trial to serve time. She knew him as a man that hustled to keep food on the table. In essence, instead of Common calling the woman a bi*** or a h**, he talks about what it is like for this woman. He affirms women! He says,

“She walked into the court her knees buckle
Saying for a man to survive he need hustle
Seen and been through struggle her whole life
Made a transition from being his ho to his wife
Stifling, the night upend the ATF bust in
Her daddy was a hustler so she love them
Looked at the jury how can they judge him, she screamed!”

3. He is creative 

In his song, “The Dreamer” he says,

“Feeling like the world, the world is at my fingers
‘Bout to speak to an auditorium full of dreamers
Kinda took me back to when I first had a dream
To be like the king that sang Billie Jean
Now it’s gold records, and I’m on silver screens
At the mountaintop, you still gotta dream
To the dreamers.”

What makes him creative is he puts Maya Angelou’s thoughts on the back end of his song and she recites her poem. What rappers can we actually name that have the riveting expression of Maya Angelou in their song?

4. He is a good role model

We have never known Common to be in trouble with the law. Common has never been in the media for anything negative. Common is a good Black man that your daughter or son can look up to. If you want your child to listen to positive rap from a positive person, buy your child Common’s album.

Common is the best rapper alive–I mean that!