‘Conscious’ Sound, Uncommon Success

NPR profiles conscious rapper Common:

He shuns popular trends in hip hop and focuses on some of the art form’s core principles: storytelling and presenting music with a message.

Common, born Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., is part of a tradition of so-called “conscious artists” like Dead Prez, The Coup and Mos Def who try to bring social and cultural messages back to the airwaves. Though now he embraces being a conscious artist, there was a time when he shunned the label as pigeonholing his music.