Jovanotti was arguably the most important figure to emerge in Italian pop music since the late '80s. Whereas only a chosen few could match him in terms of achievements and popularity (Ligabue) or domestic record sales (Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti), these have typically worked within fairly canonical genres (rock music, conventional romantic fare), while Jovanotti could also be credited for almost single-handedly introducing rap, funk, and (later in his career) different strands of world music to Italian mainstream audiences. In addition to his seminal, pioneering role in contemporary Italian pop music, few contemporary songwriters can legitimately claim as many entries into the Great Italian Songbook as Jovanotti, who has been steadily penning some of the most beloved Italian songs of the last two decades. Most noteworthy of all, before at least the release of his third or fourth album, the very notion of Jovanotti one day securing a place among the truly great Italian songwriters would have sent virtually everyone -- Jovanotti's many fans included -- into fits of laughter, for his early records were little more than juvenile fodder. Jovanotti's career has been a remarkable tale of artistic growth, of a willingness to improve and transcend boundaries in spite of prejudice or criticism, all the while continuing to make highly entertaining pop music, rather than becoming pompous or abstruse -- like, say, Lucio Battisti. Jovanotti's refreshing, down-to-earth candor has also translated well into his public image, enhanced by his literary excursions, his noted humanitarian work, and his political activism, and has earned him the respect and the affection of the entire Italian music scene and audience, from hardcore rappers (true, more and more begrudgingly, as Jovanotti's mainstream profile rose) to the Sanremo crowd.