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Common

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“Thelonius” by Common, from Like Water for Chocolate (MCA Records):

Rare is the rapper who can maintain his musical edge while moonlighting as an actor. Then again, Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. — aka Common — is a rare rapper: the kind whose mainstream body of work surpasses the ambitions and artistry of his underground efforts. Common's silver-screen presence surfaced in tandem with adventurous albums such as Electric Circus, which owed a heavy debt to the oversexed productions of Prince and Marvin Gaye. Keeping elite company such as Kanye West, ?uestlove and the late J Dilla around the house hasn't hurt, either, allowing Common to maintain a respectable ratio of self-indulgent madness to inspired genius.

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