03/13/2012 09:21 am ET

Common's Birthday: Rapper Turns 40, Style Evolution (PHOTOS)

Happy 40th Birthday Common!

The Chicago born rapper hit the hip-hop scene 20 years ago and has since his lyrical skills into becoming a successful actor, influential philatrophist, and just added author to his long list of talents with the release of his memoir One Day It'll All Make Sense.

While he continues to entertains us on track, on screen and on paper--Common's sharp personal style is also worth noting.

The fashion forward star is consistently pulled together whether in a pair of jeans and T-shirt or tux. We've also noticed his particular love of neck adornments (scarves, ties, bow ties and ascots) and hats.

We caught up with Grammy-winning rapper at a New York Fashion Week event last month where he told us that he describes his style as smart, gentlemen like and progressive.

"I allow my style to change. As an artist and a human being I don't hold back--I stay free with what I want to do," Common told Huffington Post Black Voices.

In celebration of Common's 40th birthday, here's a look at his stellar style evolution over the years.

Common's 40th birthday