With Common's hometown of Chicago reeling from rampant gun violence, his 10th studio album, Nobody's Smiling, is a meditation on that crisis. Produced by longtime collaborator No I.D., the album features big names like Big Sean and Jhene Aiko alongside Chicago fixtures such as Lil Herb and Dreezy. It takes its cues from both '90s boom-bap and the darker sound of Kanye West's Yeezus. Common weaves his own experiences and memories growing up in the Windy City into those of the tracks' narrators, creating an impressionistic tableau: "These streets is my religion," he raps on the standout "Kingdom," which has a gospel choir that evokes that of "Jesus Walks." The abrasive beats of "Blak Majik" and "Hustle Harder" are some of Common's hardest-hitting in years; they jibe perfectly with the heated, mournful tone of his lyrics.
The Neighborhood (feat. Lil Herb & Cocaine 80s)
Diamonds (feat. Big Sean)
Blak Majik (feat. Jhene Aiko)
Speak My Piece
Hustle Harder (feat. Snoh Aalegra & Dreezy)
Nobody's Smiling (feat. Malik Yusef)
Real (feat. Elijah Blake)
Kingdom (feat. Vince Staples)
Out On Bond (feat. Vince Staples)
7 Deadly Sins
Young Hearts Run Free (feat. Cocaine 80s)
13 SONGS, 53 MINUTES
JULY 22, 2014
℗ 2014 DEF JAM RECORDINGS (ARTIUM RECORDS), A DIVISION OF UMG RECORDINGS, INC.