For some years now, Chicago rapper Common has enjoyed the reputation of being the thinking man’s rapper. His socially conscious rhymes and dapper fashion sense have worked to separate him from the Cristal-drinking, booty-slapping, hip-hop acts everyone was yelling about a couple months ago.

He’s all about peace, love and respect. Not to mention, according to Billboard, quite a bit of corporate sponsorship.

Though busy prepping his new album, Finding Forever, due out July 31, and filming a movie called The Night Watchman, the rapper will take part in three-city tours for both Microsoft and Starbucks later this summer.

Live at the BBQ, sponsored by Microsoft’s ZUNE, will also feature Mos Def, the Clipse, Lil’ John, Cham, David Banner, Bilal, Collie Buddz, UGK, Large Professor and E-40. The first show happens July 13 in Los Angeles, followed by ones in Chicago (July 22) and New York (Aug. 4).

As an explanation, Common said, “I’m about connecting with the people.”

On that note, he will make stops in the exact same three cities later this summer, appearing in Starbucks stores in each metropolis. He will be the first hip-hop act to perform at the coffee retailer, which will carry his new record. To explain himself here, Common said, “It was a situation where they felt it had the quality of what they sell in their store.”

What a diplomat. Pumping his fist and making cash register noises would have been in poor taste. Again, always thinking.

In addition to these tours, the rapper is also planning a concert tour behind the new album with fellow Chicago MCs Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West, and then yet another tour to promote his hat line, Soji.

Common must really like this new album of his, as he’s willing to go to the ends of North America to promote it. Thinking men enjoy making money, though, so I suppose it all makes sense.

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