In his nearly-two-decade career, Common has worn many hats on his iconic bald head—reigning hero of consciousness rap, neo-soul vanguard, psychedelic experimentalist, sex symbol, good cop to Kanye’s bad cop, pop-icon-in-training. But whether he’s the nostalgic twentysomething mourning the death of hip-hop or a guy pushing 40 rapping about oral sex with Kid Cudi, Common always seems like he’s smarter than the room, a friendly intellectual who just happens to rap like a beast. His diverse array of personas is a perfect fit for the perennially diverse neighborhood of Fort Greene, whose Fort Greene Festival also includes performances by tirelessly funky jazz-hop mutants Soulive, updated rock-rap crew Soul Mafia, Babyface-styled r&b up-and-comer Gordon Chambers, and sultry nu-soul diva Dakota Grey. Though it might be worth making the trip alone for the bevy of Fort Greene restaurants serving up food: succulent South African hotspot Madiba, next-level sandwich joint No. 7, and locavore bistro Ici.

Sat., June 26, noon, 2010