The Chicago MC's 10th studio project, titled Nobody Smiling, is set to be produced entirely by No ID. Common's last studio release was 2011's The Dreamer, The Believer.
"2014 is gonna be one of my greatest times in music," he promised. "I feel excited about the project I'm working on ... Originally, I was making an EP, but we've just been making a lot of songs — myself and No ID — and I liked the direction."
One of those new songs, "War," released late Monday (Jan. 6), tackles gun violence in Chicago, or "Chi-raq" as it has become known. In 2012, the city clocked over 500 murders; the rate dropped by 24 percent to 415 murders in 2013 (the last two of which happened on New Year's Eve).
Being a native of the Windy City (as is No ID, aka Dion Wilson), Common came upon the title Nobody Smiling to reflect the climate in Chicago and hopes that the gun violence will cease one day. "This concept of Nobody Smiling was really a thought that came about because of all that was going on — or that is going on. I like to say 'was' because we're going to bring it into fruition that it's gon' stop."
In addition to a new album, the lyricist is also creating community enrichment programs for Chicago, but isn't only focused on his hometown. "It happens in Chicago, but it's happening around the world in many ways. It may not be to the numbers it's happening in Chicago, but it's happening in the inner cities all over America," he said. "So, we're talking about the conditions of what's happening, when I said, Nobody Smiling, but it's really a call to action."
No word yet on when Nobody Smiling will be released.
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(Photo: Press Line Photos / Splash News)