29 May, 2014@6:56 am
Are you ready? #nobodyssmiling
— COMMON (@common) May 28, 2014
One of this year’s most anticipated releases is Common’s tenth studio album, Nobody’s Smiling, which was announced at the top of the year. But news has been quiet lately on that front, missing its initial projected Spring release date. That being said, here is everything we know thus far about Common’s Nobody’s Smiling.
1. It’s a concept album about the gang violence epidemic in Chicago: With gang violence currently out of control in Chicago, Common has taken notice, and decided to build a concept album that deals with this topic, in hopes of making changes in his community. He says he wants the album to be similar in vein to records like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Nas’ Illmatic, and Ice Cube’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted.
“We came up with this concept ‘nobody’s smiling.’ It was really a thought that came about because of all the violence in Chicago,” he said. “It happens in Chicago, but it’s happening around the world in many ways.” He continues, “We was talking about the conditions of what’s happening, when I say ‘nobody’s smiling.’ But it’s really a call to action.”
— COMMON (@common) May 10, 2014
2. It’s produced entirely by No I.D.: Common will reteam with longtime producer Dion “No I.D.” Wilson to produce the entire album, who also produced most of what many consider to be his best and undisputably classic LP, his sophomore record, Resurrection. No I.D., nicknamed “The Godfather Of Chicago Hip-Hop”, is also known for his position as Executive Vice-President of Def Jam Recordings, and producer behind more recent tracks like Jay-Z’s “Death Of Autotune” and Nas’ “Daughters”. Common also stated in an a separate interview when this project was originally envisioned as an EP, that he’d like to get Kanye West involved.
3. Guests will include some of Chicago’s new generation of artists: Alongside Vince Staples, James Fauntleroy and Ab-Soul, Com says he wishes to work with “the new crop of Chicago artists” that are coming up at the moment. Lil Herb is the first of these artists to be revealed.
“Common reached out to me,” Lil Herb told The Source. “Common just hit my phone a couple weeks ago to see how I was doing. He gave me a verse on the intro of his album. I f*cks with Common, that’s about it…. When I first spoke to him, he was like, ‘keep it up. He told me that he like my style and the way that I carry myself. And with my work ethic, I can go real far and he told me don’t ever stop doing the sh*t.”
Common spoke to Revolt about the bubbling scene. “The new crop of Chicago artists are really representing what Chicago is about. From a diversity aspect, just having their own styles, the way we talk in Chicago, the lingo that Chicago has used. Really, honestly it evolves – just like in most neighborhoods and cities – it becomes specific to that area, or to a block. They really have brought something new to hip-hop.”
4. Plenty of Chicago’s new talent were present at the album’s cover shoot: While this does not confirm that each emcee whom appeared at the shoot is on the album – (just think about that Midnight Marauders album cover) – a large number of Chicago’s young emcees were present at the photoshoot for the Nobody’s Smiling album cover. Among these were each King Louie, Lil Herb, The G Count, KD Young Cocky, Lil Bibby, Dreezy – all whom were featured with Common in various Instagram photos the day of the shoot. Lil Bibby was also rumored to be at the shoot, however there is no photographic proof.
“We’re shooting the cover for Nobody’s Smiling. The cover is this concept, it’s really incredible. We’ve got other artists from Chicago coming too,” Com said in a brief Instagram video.
5. Two singles have been released. “Made In Black America”, featuring Ab-Soul, and “War”, a solo cut that deals directly with the album’s concept. A third track, “The City”, was previewed briefly in a trailer for CNN’s Chicagoland documentary series. Each of the tracks are produced by No I.D., but no word if they each will make the final tracklist. Listen to them below.
6. Update: The lead single is “Kingdom” with Vince Staples: The song will be unveiled tomorrow. Check out the preview trailer above.
Did we miss something? Sound off in the comments section below.
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