Popular music website Okayplayer recently posted an update indicating: “The Nobody’s Smiling LP stream has been taken down and we have been advised by Common’s team that this was an unauthorized leak.” Links to a full album stream of Common’s latest album have since been removed. While Common’s management is definitely not smiling, the hype surrounding an album leak will surely push Common’s album into the foreground of hip-hop news.
Despite the somber tone provoked by the title Nobody’s Smiling, Common’s latest album allows him to preach the problems of Chicago and all the while produce a versatile album that capitalizes on features from Chicago’s emerging rappers, ample lyrical mind-warps, and even one or two club hits (gasp).
Common stays thoughtful as ever, living up to his role as hip-hop’s “elder statesman”. The album serves as a tribute to the issues and lifestyle of Chicago.Common weaves raps about Stony Island, the city’s perpetual struggle with gang-violence, familiar narratives for those native to the windy city. On the title track, ‘Nobody’s Smiling’ Common dives right into a scene of criminal action and the lure of cash. He even brings up Hadiya Pendleton, a teenager who was murdered in Chicago last year, only one week after she had performed at the presidential inauguration.
A standout track on the album is ‘Kingdom’ featuring former Odd Future crony Vince Staples. Amplified by gospel production, Common and Staples preach themes riddled with vengence and mourning. It’s an interesting contrast from Vince Staples’s usual apathetic style, and Common delivers a steady stream of empathetic critique. Watch the video for this single’ Kingdom’ here.
Common’s album hit shelves today (July 22nd). While you can no longer stream it, you can listen and purchase a copy via iTunes. The standard LP contains 10 tracks. The deluxe version has 3 additional songs featuring Vince Staples and Cocaine 80’s.