I can totally understand why the Sam Jacksons of the world have a problem with rappers acting, or rap-tors if you please. With dedicated black actors struggling for every single opportunity possible, it sucks to have seemingly unqualified people jump in from other entertainment fields and grab up these most precious roles. The thing is, I’ve never considered rappers to be inherently unqualified. Pretty much every mainstream rapper is living a persona to some extent, and the storytelling and imagery of hip-hop – when done right – can most certainly rival anything you see in TV and movies. One of those few guys still doing it right happens to be Chicago MC Common, and as he has started racking up major roles left and right, I can do nothing but celebrate.

He made a good showing in this year’s Smoking Aces, and he’s already part of the Ridley Scott/Denzel Washington/Russell Crowe flick American Gangster. Now comes word that he’s jumping into two other major flicks. The first is the increasingly star-studded The Night Watchman, where Common will play a heroin dealer from Belize posing as an undercover 5-0 alongside Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Chris Evans, and Hugh Laurie. You can see the pattern in the roles he’s picking up where Common is wisely taking smaller parts in fantastic ensembles, as opposed to jumping into cheapie, crap horror flicks (Busta in Halloween: Resurrection), lame teen action (e.g. Bow Wow in The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift) or hood-ploitation junk (e.g. Game in Waist Deep). Still, his second choice gives me a smidgen of concern.

Common’s also joined up with the bigscreen adaptation of the comic Wanted, where he’ll be playing the Q-type gadget genius to James McAvoy’s lead. I’ve been puzzled by this movie from day one because I remember the comic having a great premise (It takes place in a world where supervillains got organized and took out all of the heroes and now rule from the shadows with a mob-like structure) and squandering it with juvenile writing full of in-jokes on  famous comic heroes and villains. The action’s not exactly what you’d expect from a superhero film, either, as the lead is basically a glorified assassin who kills most of his foes with lots of headshots (or when he fought a villain made of fecal matter, Clorox). Still, they’ve gotten two major (but not particularly discriminating) names in Morgan Freeman (who is McAvoy’s mentor) and Angelina Jolie (who’ll play his partner/lover in a role that was a black female in the comics. Shame!) to bolster the lineup. Reportedly, the film will also feature parkour, or fancy pants building jumping, along with the expected gun battles and shit blowing up. Hopefully, Common won’t evoke another rap-tor who hit the comic book world up a while back: Ice-T.

The men don’t know, but the people who were exposed to Tank Girl understand.