Chi-town’s poetic master Common wasted no time to give us new music after announcing last night that a new album is on the way. Titled War, the militant and commanding instrumental comes from Common’s long-time friend and fellow artist No I.D., who will also be producing the entire album of Nobody’s Smiling. Like the album’s first single, Common is conceptualizing his tenth solo album to declare war on the hideous street violence which has gained significant media attention in the past few years and continues to plague the minds of the youth and their surroundings. Also heard towards the end of War, Common had this to say in a recent interview about the album and its focal subject matter:
“Originally I was making it an EP, but we’ve just been making a lot of songs, myself and No I.D. We came up with this concept—Nobody Smiling was really a thought that came about because of all the violence that was going on in Chicago, or that is going on… It happens in Chicago, but it’s going on around the world in many ways, in inner cities all over America. We were talking about the conditions of what was happening when I said Nobody Smiling, but it’s really a call to action”
Common hasn’t been the only rapper to speak out about his hometown. From Kanye referencing “Chiraq” in Black Skinhead, Chance The Rapper referring to his home as a “scummy city”, to Lupe Fiasco’s breakdown in a 2012 interview with MTV and his continued vocal advocacy, the rap community has made it clear that something must change. Although there is a slight silver lining int he fact that Chicago’s murder rate in 2013 was the lowest it’s been since 1965 with 415 homicides (18% drop from 2012), the Midwest capital still leads major U.S. cities by a long shot.
Time will tell if the Chicago PD’s new superintendent can truly make an outlasting difference in the city’s crime issues with fresh strategies. On the other end, it’s artists like Common who hope to maintain awareness by utilizing their artistic abilities which can contribute towards bringing light to the situation and spreading the attitude of intolerance towards senseless violence. There is no release date for Nobody’s Smiling at the moment, more music and information is soon to come.