13 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

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