Common - Nobody's Smiling

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Common's latest is his best since "Be," and like the album itself does about Chicago, that says plenty.

The title-cover tandem of Common’s latest album sets a tone. A few releases ago, in 2005, Be provided what has become the most iconic image of his career with an outright grin and an almost glowing background for a cover. Before that, on his first and other most undisputed highpoint a decade earlier, the artwork seems to show a younger rapper lost in his thoughts. On Nobody’s Smiling Common’s face emerges from darkness, somber. It’s the first impression of an album he wants associated with Chicago.

Resurrection and Be were a decade removed from one another and remain Common’s most celebrated milestones, stylistic landmarks in No I.D. and Kanye West’s respective careers as well. After a sometimes tepid sequel of the West collaboration earned a Grammy for “Southside,” Common sonically changed course with Universal Mind Control. Three years later, in 2011, he staged a comeback with an album again produced by No I.D., their first together since the ‘90s. If The Dreamer/The Believer was a return to form, Nobody’s Smiling keeps the pace but also focuses Common’s gaze. He’s bolder and the subject more unsettling. Earlier this month, after the album cover and title had already been revealed, 84 people were shot in Chicago in a single weekend and more than a dozen of them died.

The album opens with James Fauntleroy’s filtered voice and an extended Curtis Mayfield sample. The latter, pulled from the  singer’s solo debut, seems to frame the politics on this album through that breakout moment of social commentary in Mayfield’s career. Common has built his own on a politic-forward approach, but Nobody’s Smiling chips away at some of the recently smoother edges. His first lines ask if we’ve heard of specific Chicago gangs like the Four Corner Hustlers and Almighty Vice Lord Nation before the rest of the verse establishes a nostalgic city street culture built on gang life and morality. Lil Herb updates the scene with a show-stealing appearance that begins similarly but is more acute and current: “I’ve been out there three days and I got shot at three times / Felt like every bullet hit me when they flew out each nine / I be happy when I wake up and I have a free mind,” he raps. Common has long grown into his authority and featuring a rapper less than half his age—Lil Herb wasn’t alive for either of Common’s first two albums—that has a history of glorified violence in his music holds an obvious message. At the same time, Com seems effectively morose about Chicago without sounding out-of-touch or preachy.

By comparison, Big Sean’s feature on “Diamonds” feels like a different type of politics, specifically, an old news GOOD Music connection and Common’s just having joined Sean on the Def Jam roster. It’s the only seemingly inorganic feature on the album save its place as a hopefully catchy exposure grab with Sean singing the hook (his “campaign,” “champagne,” and a “bad thing” are all “poppin’”). Otherwise, the album is full of younger artists performing memorably. Jhene Aiko and Vince Staples in particular help build up the songs they perform on instead of just occupying a time-slot (Staples gets the nod twice and may be the only rapper on the album to eclipse his “Kingdom” verse with his own follow-up on “Out On Bond”). Fauntleroy and Elijah Blake, who have written songs like Justin Timberlake’s “Pusher Love Girl” and Usher’s “Climax” separately, smooth out tracks with smart and sometimes edgy Soul.

Like much of the second half of his catalogue, Common’s raps are easy-listening compared to early career showcases of ambitious finesse. Stripped down similes abound; a particular heroic woman on “Hustle Harder” is “never getting gassed like a Tesla” and goes “in like an investor.” Still, there’s a straight-forwardness to his lyrics that propels the whole album and keeps most of the references surface level. It’s a trademark in practiced simplicity that allows so many of Common’s lyrics to be both easy to remember and sophisticated at the same time. “Played the lotto for my gram with a bottle in hand / Lay it down for the world, for Chicago I stand,” he raps on “Speak My Piece” as the beat rattles around, bells synced to an 808-driven bottom end, a panning and far-off sounding Biggie sample in tow.

No I.D.’s production is eclectic and digestible from track to track, but he too lets things bubble up uncomfortably at times without sacrificing interest. “Kingdom” is a pounding march, “Rewind That” has a shimmering sample as a backdrop for Common to retread his decision to walk away from No I.D. in the first place and then to remember J Dilla by. The production is half the take and constantly interesting. The album also tips the balance in favor of No I.D. having produced the majority of the rapper’s discography while also making a case that Common shouldn’t stray again.

The deluxe version is more than just outlet-specific marketing and piles on three unmissable songs that help the record play out in full. After 10 albums, Common has one of the most compelling discographies in Hip Hop, in part thanks to this type of streamlined tracklist. Even his utterly skippable mishaps were cases of trying something new to him. Nobody’s Smiling is defiant, as full of commanding musicality as it is of Common’s own provocation. Of his recent output, it deserves to be the most touted since that 2005 darling. It’s one of his best since he started, and like the album itself does about Chicago’s current crisis, that says plenty.


  • Jason-X

    Common is one of those amazing artists that never really makes me dissapointed his last album was a great listen i'm liking it but at the same time not really loving it, But great nontheless deserves a 4/5 Stars...Will be listening to this one for a while

  • Anonymous

    I rate Common- Nobody's Smiling a 93% A- excellent album nothing terrible. Explains the state of the city of Chicago perfectly. No wack verses found. Tracks to lookout for: The Neighborhood, No Fear, Diamonds, Blak Majik, Hustle Harder, Kingdom, and Rewind That. The project is arguably the best project this year. All substance, no bullshit. Even a couple of hits in there. I love the project start to finish. Lil' Herbs chilling verse stands out on this album.

  • Dwight

    One of commons best albums in awhile. Top notch production.

  • phanopera

    A lot of folks sleep on Common.....some folks are asleep with their eyes wide open....I really like the grittiness of the album...Some are not facing the music thats why its so easy for them to just blow it some point you won't be able to...smh

  • Dane

    I still love my brother Common but i don't know what he's doing with his music. The lyricism is there and the content is real but i cant listen to most of the beats on this album. Rewind That is a truly real & dope song but thats it. Maybe its No ID who's trippin on the beat selection and putting a big sean feature on, but Common bears responsibility because its his name on it and its part of his body of work. I feel he owes us more, he knows what the real shit sounds like and is a OG in the game and a stand up nigga. Compared to the other garbage out today it is good but compared to what we know he can do( Ressurection, Be, Water 4 Chocolate) this is just a shame. I thought he would have learned from the response to Universal Mind Control but i guess not. It feels like he don't give a fuck about his fans that stuck with him since the start. He's trying to fit in with a different crowd now and he'll soon find out about the fickleness and lack of loyalty they'll afford him. I still would recommend his book to everyone, but don't bother with this album if you were born before 92 it will just depress you.

  • Kempy

    This is a very weak album. You have to get the deluxe version bc those 3 tracks are stronger than most of the album. Big Sean does not fit, I'm astonished No ID left his hook on there, makes the track unlistenable. Rewind That is the Common we want, we just need a whole album of that quality. Who picked the beats? Some of them are absolutely shocking!! I have all his albums, I've seen him live. This is his poorest effort. He needs to take a look at himself after this album and think about if he needs to continue. Real Talk. Or give up all the other distractions and get back to being a MC.

  • JudgeHoldekn

    Loved Common when he first came out, and always root for my 90's guys to keep putting out good shit, but Common has been kinda lame for a while now and his flow is pretty corny.

  • Anonymous

    Real and true hip-hop right here. People complain about the mainstream bullshit but when Common drops a dope project like this people don't wanna accept that it's a dope project, and would rather nit pick at the dumbest stuff. I for one enjoyed this album, and Nobody Smiling is easily one of the best projects to come out in the past few years.

  • Peezy

    C'mon folks. Not more than 3 Stars. Big Sean's terrible Hook ruins half of the thing already. How can any credible producer leave that there?

  • Anonymous

    no id dropped the ball here

  • Cash

    This shit was garbage. And I love Be, Finding Forever, and Like Water For Chocolate

  • URO

    dat iz straight real hip hop righ there.

  • MrRicoSlick

    Nobody's Smiling is not an ode to Chicago, neither is it an indictment of the city's violent reputation, it's an artist's attempt to put this situation in context by extending an olive branch to those artist's who can relate to the animosity that fuels their peers to give this city its infamous reputation. Common plays the role of elder state's man trying to make sense of the present anarchy in his city and why things have gone from bad to worse since his departure. Lil Herb, Vince and Dreezy fill in these gaps for him by putting the challenges youth in his city face in context. This is why largely in terms of the album's concept, Nobody Smiling succeeds. Granted the soundscape is kind of stripped down and uninspired but No ID does his best to ensure the lyrics are at the forefront as opposed to the production stealing the limelight. Tracks like BlakMajik(feat.Jhene Aiko) and Diamonds(feat.Big Sean) do little to build on the album's main discourse, but play a subtle role in the sub-plot of Common reaching out to the new generation. This album in spite of its flaws is built on one of the key moral obligations of Hip Hop "telling the people's story, being a voice for the oppressed". 4 stars. Favourite track "Out on Bond", Vince Staples is one heck of a narrator!


    this is a okay album for hip-hop purists. it's quite retro, and that can be a little embarrassing for those of the golden age of hip hop. HANDS DOWN, the best track is the Jhene Aiko Collab. - BLAK MAJIK, just a very streety gritty tune, with hard to swallow, verse, after verse. BARS!!!! worth a check out!

  • Causa1ity

    Out On Bond is the saving grace from this album, damn what a banger. Anybody who's not motivated to check this album out at least give that song a try.

  • Daniel

    Rewind That is one of the realist songs I've heard in a while. The Neighborhood was a great way to start off the album especially in this day and age for the African American community. Diamonds get me pumped and turnt. I don't really listen to common like that so 3 stars would be like a five to somebody who is a die hard fan.

  • Andre

    I thought it was solid. Compared to what is available today it is a risk to make music like this now. I feel it's well rounded body of work.

  • Ryan

    To say this is Common's best since "Be" is a strange comment to me. I thought "Finding Forever" and "The Dreamer/The Believer" may have been his two best albums. I liked them both way more than this or "Be."

  • Neph

    I LOVE Common, and been buying his joints since "One Day It'll All Make Sense" - He one of the best to ever do it in Hip Hop. But I don't get where you guys coming from givin' this album a near perfect rating. This LP ain't nowhere near his best stuff, though "Rewind That" is a dope track. It's decent at best. And how you guys not mentioning "Like Water For Chocolate"? His best and one of the greatest albums ever made?? "Be", as dope an LP as it is, wishes it could be "LWFC". Jay Dee represented wit the production on that joint. Y'all need to stop sleeping on "Like Water For Chocolate"

  • Nix

    Best album since Be.... Not compared to, but since Be..

  • Jay Balfour

    Decent album, I don't know where he hell these guys are getting 4.5/5 though. Rewind that, 7 deadly sins, and Nobody's Smiling best songs on the album; Real and Hustle Harder are the worst. 3.5/5

  • Sean

    Fire from beginning to end

  • Anonymous

  • Anonymous

    Album's pretty good, I think it could've been better. Some of No ID's production seemed kinda off, and some of the features I could've done without, like Big Sean, who I find annoying, and Dreezy on Hustle Harder. She had bars but I just can't stand her voice. Common switches his flow a few songs, which at times work and others don't (Blak Majik). Otherwise, solid album. The Neighborhood, Speak My Piece, Hustle Harder, Kingdom, Rewind That, Out on Bond and 7 Deadly Sins are the highlights for me. 3.5/5 Bought the Target Edition and modified the tracklist for anyone interested: 1. The Neighborhood 2. No Fear 3. Out on Bond 4. Diamonds 5. Blak Majik 6. Speak My Piece 7. 7 Deadly Sins 8. Hustle Harder 9. Nobody's Smiling 10. Young Hearts Run Free 11. Real 12. City to City 13. Kingdom 14. Rewind That

  • KingJunior

    Haha Best album since Be? More like better than UMC. This album is lukewarm. No I.D. is vastly, overrated. Peep Dreamer/Believer. Common either needs to work with Ye again or just hang up the mic. This hurts saying cause Be is in my top 5 of Hip-Hop Albums, but HipHopDX keep it real this album is 3.5 stars max!!!

    • Moos

      Oh please, the Kanye you're referring to is long dead. It would just be UMC all over again. Look at what he did with Yeezus?

    • LuciousAR

      I agree 100%. I've listened to it about 3 full times and it still hasnt grown on me. "Rewind That" is probably the realist track on this,and "Black Majik" is the worst. Working with old soul track making Ye would easily give this man a spark of recognition agian. He still has the lyrics and flow, he just needs those classic beats and catchy hooks to make real "Black Majik" like in Be or Finding Forever. I don't want another Be but a new fresher version and style would be nice.

  • uranic

    this project really sounds good 5 stars

  • Anonymous

    P.S its a solid album otherwise, Not tryna bash it. Just for those of us who actually follow common and actually heard his last few albums? I felt like DX REAAAALLY misstated by comparing it to "Be"

  • Anonymous

    Not better than Finding forever, or Be DX dropped the ball on this review.

  • Anonymous

    These comments are so polarized. Either people ripping the album apart or in love with it. And with DX I never know who's trolling or not (including the editors).

  • Nuff Said

    "You created me from dust, thats why I did dirt"



    • D-Train

      Good stuff fam Rozewood and Hus are dope as hell.... This album is terrible and super soft, trying to be pop and underground....Fail, common sold out yrs ago....

  • jessemp3

    Sorry folks, but this album is trash. The beats are horrible and there are hardly any good songs on it. He has the lyrics but the beats and production are just not worth listening to. I don't understand what he's trying to do on this album with these tracks but I won't be listening to it again lol

  • D@mn

    I'm Chi-Town born & bred, Old skool hip hopper 4 life! I got mad love 4 the brotha Rashid, but this ain't it. Sorry its just not. It don't take nothin' away from the brotha as a premiere MC or nothin' like that. But 4 MY money I just wanted a little more (especially from him). I think his heart & soul were N the right place but he's just 2 far removed for the situation 2 do it justice. C'mon home bro. & get put back N tune w/ the proper demonstration.

  • Thelonious Emcee

    How can u go from the light, the questions, and 6th Sense to this garbage album?NO ID u effin suck bro..resurrection was ur best album...Common u sold out like a dashiki to a business suit..

  • Mr. Tibbs

    After a week of spinning it I'm going to be honest the first half of the album is flat, almost mixtapish. The second half is a little better. The blame mostly goes on No I.D. I mean his beats were aight nothing to go crazy over. Commons lyrics, not his sharpest but definitely could've held up a little better with better production. I'm sure Common is anticipating getting back into the studio with Kanye cause "be" was his best project since the Golden Days. 3//5

  • Tumi

    Pity P.T.S.D came out this year, otherwise this would have been the Album of the year.


    COMMON FELL OFF , This album is wack garbage . The beats are boring and Common raps are not fun to listen to . My opinion But Common's old records are good

  • nothankscomm

    disappointed in Common's latest stuff.. a bit too R&B/pop..don't get me wrong he's an all-time great lyricist, just not enjoying this latest one

  • Santigo

    Sorry but this album is mega disappointing! The production is weak, just like The Dreamer/Believer was. There's no real feel to the album, it's Soft & Hollywood sonically. Only good records are Rewind That & 7 Deadly Sins, everything is real soft. But more than Common disappointing is No ID. No ID is 1 of the most overrated producers ever. How many records has he done that are "Classic" or stay on repeat? Yeah...not very many. Only niggas that will say this album is dope are YesMen dickriders or young niggas who don't know what Hip Hop is supposed to sound like.

    • Derek

      Sorry bro, but young niggas wouldn't even know who Common is! Common is old school and has always rep'd Chi-Town!!

  • Thelonious Emcee

    Terrible album, thanks def jam! No offense but dilla was commons architect...No ID provides boring plain beats that sound watered down for def jam..Commons weakest offering, 2.5, but IMA give it 3 for Common...BE will always be Commons defining momentas like water for choc and ressuection...,

  • Rochelle

    As a long time fan of Common i give this work 5 stars. I grew up down the street and like him have lived in another city for the last few years. He paints a vivid picture of our neighborhood and city past and present. So saddened by the increase in violence he reaches out to our fellow Chicago and in a way he hasn't done in a few albums and makes me want to move home and work to make a difference.

  • AR

    Its a good solid album. A few tracks on there I'm not feelin, mainly due to the production. I think Common was trying to cater a little bit to the new generation and it doesn't work for him. A little feature heavy also, which I believe is part of his attempt to cater to the young kids. But tracks like "Rewind That" "Speak My Piece" "Out on Bond" "Seven Deadly Sins" "The Neighborhood" "No Fear" "Nobody's Smiling" and "Kingdom" are some dope tracks. This album had its highlights but it could have been so much better

  • mattayo

    This is one of his best albums!!! Hes underated man. 5/5

  • jam

    Love the album but I don't agree it's better than The Dreamer/The Believer. Common is one of the best rappers of all time.

  • Absyte

    Simply put. Brilliant.

  • Todd Easy

    Tight album. "Rewind That" moved me!

  • DS

    No I.D. sucks? Who the fuck is better then?

  • D.G

    Common and No I.D killed it on this album. Com is spitting some real sh*t!!!

  • hmm

    not gonna lie No ID came hard on the production, but Common isn't as lyrical as a lot of people make him out to be. I'd give this 4 stars tops, but to balance out this ridiculous 4.5 I'm giving it a 2

  • juan

    EverY time a 90'S rapper try to adapt their flow to the one of the new mc'S the Lord kills a cat

  • erg

    nothing special but not bad at all

  • Anonymous

    Chicago bullshit, nothin' special.



    • Anonymous

      who listens to Onyx. These niggas are old and lame as fuck, had one hit 30 years ago slaaaam and thats it.

  • nix

    Freddie Gibbs and Madlib.....signed sealed and delivered

    • DMan

      The beats were dope for the most part on Common's new album. No I.D. has been working with Common since 1992 so I think they DO have a chemistry between each other. So anyways, im another one who thinks these beats are bangin!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      No, you just think because you liked it, you must have the only accepted taste in beats. Try to think outside of the box for a minute and listen to other people stating their own opinions.

    • Anonymous

      terrible beats??????????? oh you forgot what real beats sound like

    • Anonymous

      it had fucking terrible beats it should be remixed

  • kin

    I think a lot of people are missing the purpose of having the song Diamonds on the album. If you make a concept album about the people of a city, you need a song that says something about the goals of the people. Diamonds encapsulates that idea. Not saying it's perfect or couldn't have been done better, but it's definitely not some "obvious attempt at a club banger."

  • drake king of hiphop

    Watch for the new Drake album he will crush this album

  • Anonymous

    Common has skillz but he is the most boring rapper ever. His voice is so montone

  • Anonymous

    lolololololololol 4.5 for this dog of an album? lolololol. good grief.

  • Anonymous

    This album was nothing special. The production was sub-par for No I.D. standards and the rhymes and flow seemed very simplistic for Common standards. I do like the message he's trying to push in exposing the war zone that is south side Chicago and he does a good job in detailing it throughout, but I really don't see Common as that kind of MC and it seems kinda awkward at times. Don't get me wrong, this beats all the other trash music released today, it just doesn't seem to give off that same feeling you get from some of his other albums

  • Purch

    Album of the year as of now. Most of y'all would rather listen to wack ass Wayne or the Keith Sweat of hip hop, Drake. This album is not only nasty, but a shot of adrenaline for hip hop in 2014!

    • digga

      i think purch was referencing how drake compared himself to keith sweat on "all me" and you are right too. keith has some damn classics. always sounded like he was whining though

    • Anonymous

      nope gibbs still got the album of the year

    • khordkutta

      now hold on nigga, you gon pologize for disrespecting Mr. Keith Sweat... dat nigga got classics.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck nigga... SMH

  • The Next Tune

    THE NEXT TUNE REVIEW Nobodys smiling. Before we listen to the album, the cover art and the album title of the new Common project introduce us to the criminal background of Chicago which has a constantly growing mortality rate. The album opens with The Neighborhood a track with Lil Herb and James Fauntleroy from Cocaine 80s. Lil Herb raps he will be happy when he wont have to worry about not getting shot. One of many references on this album about criminality: on tracks like No Fear, the title-track Nobodys Smiling and the first single Kingdom, Common spits bars about people whose life was changed because of the streets. Common has chosen the new school to be featured on the album: impressive collaborations from Jhene Aiko on Blak Majik and Vince Staples on Kingdom and Out of Bond. The Big Sean-featured song Diamonds is slightly out of contest but the result is good. The only track different from the rest of the album is Real with Elijah Blake, in my opinion the weakest track on this LP. On the final track in this LP Rewind That, Common reflects on his career, talking about No I.D. and Twilite Tone, his growth as an artist and his relationship with J. Dilla. This album flows really well; both the production and the guests are really on point. The executive producer No I.D. produced the entire project and did an amazing job. The beats are dark and sharp and set the mood for the concept of the album. So far, Nobodys Smiling is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and fresh hip-hop albums of the year. Final Rating: 77/100 Follow us on Facebook:

  • MIKE

    this album is awful this guy is a true fuck boi

  • Krusher Kronkite

    sorry but i've been a common and no i.d. supporter for many moons and by far this album doesn't live up to the hype. with the title alone would have thought there would bee more boom, bap. common's be painted a vivid image of emotions. this album seems rushed or something. i love the brother so much that i'll give him a pass but barely with 3 son.

    • PhillyMu

      Bruh, explain how the fuck the title "Nobody's Smiling" = Boom Bap? No nigga, you just HOPED it would be boom bap. Listen, I grew up on that boom bap shit too, but LET. IT. GO., lol. Damn, can producers be creative at all and try to find new sounds to bring into the game?

  • youngvito79

    Real Hip Hop.. Salute..

  • Psnhardaway19

    I dont even know where to begin. First of all to everyone posting about the album wack... you fucking idiots. Hate to be like that just real. This album is dope....point blank period. Yall argued about him not selling records but so what? Big willie style best selling hip hop album all time... you tellin me that going in your top 5? You either young ( which im 23 but I know my music...everything) or just have somethin against Common. Secondly im tired of hearing about drake! You can like drake and common and the same time ppl not a big deal. All hip hop not hard. Thats why you had native tongues and NWA. Its ALL HIP HOP. Just different flavors. Third, you dont know production if you pointing to this album not having strong beats. Only track you MIGHT have a point on is out on bond. But the rest ride. Would yall prefer something like migos? Again nothing wrong if thats your artist ofchoice but dont confuse something going "hard" as hip hop and lyrics... because after all its a difference between metaphors and real rap!!! common made something thats IMO his top 3 arguably. Ppl calling it shit or wack... yall just hating straight up. Unless you have listened to his albums and can judge him accordingly your opinion is worthless. I see the bitch U (if you don't get that... again your opinion is worthless and you need to let the real hip hop heads review albums). O and that guy who went track by track... thank god you dont work for DX!

  • Brian

    I give it a 3. Nothing more nothing less. This album screams mediocrity. The best song is Out On Bond and that is a deluxe bonus track. Was expecting something magical out of Common & No I.D. and got something very average.

  • KwamegaMan

    Common's "Nobody's Smiling": 1. The Neighborhood (ft. Li'l Herb) sets a good tone for the album. The beat is nice. Common's verse is mediocre, at best. Li'l Herb's verse was much better. He rode the beat much better, his delivery was more heartfelt, and I can't remember Herbo killing anyone in the song; however, I'll have to give it another listen to be sure. 3.75/5 2. No Fear isn't a terrible beat, but it is too repetitive and it feels like it's missing something. Common's delivery in the first verse is trash and the story he told is boring. His delivery gets better in the second verse, but only after the first few bars, and the effort isn't strong enough to redeem the weak beginning. And the hook is just a sample, which shows me that he didn't really try to conceptualize the song much. 2.5/5 3. Diamonds (feat. Big Sean) is a wack attempt at a club banger with an even wacker chorus. Common's delivery and content of his verses don't really compliment the vibe of the song. Big Sean has the best verse, which says very little in this case. At least his verse - content and delivery - fits the song more, but the song is the wackest track on the album out of the first 3 tracks. 2/5 4. Blak Majik (ft. Jhene Aiko) is better than the previous track, but Common further exhibits how hard it is for him to switch up his rap style to match the beat. Common's second verse is trash. He needed to rehearse his rhythm more. I expected the hook to be better, especially with Jhene Aiko on the track, but it's just another sample with Aiko singing along with it: nothing particularly magical about it. 2.5/5 5. Speak My Piece is probably the weakest overall effort on the album - from the production to the lyrical effort. The beat is too basic and Common spits with no passion. The hook is just a sample of Notorious B.I.G. from his song 'Hypnotize', another lazy attempt at a chorus. 1.5/5 6. Hustle Harder (feat. Snoh Aalegra & Dreezy) picks up the album's morale from the moment the beat drops. Common's two verses are probably his best at this point in the album - mainly because his delivery is better. Snoh Aalegra's verse was pretty okay. She rode the beat well. Oh yea. The chorus sucks. Big surprise. 3.25/5 7. Nobody's Smiling (ft. Malik Yusef), the title track, is quite disappointing. Common reverts to his bland delivery and he lies in the first few bars. FYI, Obama is not from Stony Island. Chief Malik is, but Obama's from Hawaii, bruh. This beat is also too basic. The vibe of the beat matches the song's title, and it does have potential, but the percussion is practically non-existent. Malik Yusef's presence on the album seems too contrived, as if Common is trying to forcefully resurrect memories of the Common Sense days. 2/5 8. Real (ft. Elijah Blake) is wack from the moment the beat drops : weak beat, weak hook, weak lyrics. Common ain't really rapping about shit. His subject matter lacks focus, it's all over the place. There isn't one impressively conceptualized song on the album at this point, and the first track is still the best. 1.5/5 9. Kingdom (feat. Vince Staples) is likely NoID's best production effort on the album thus far. Too bad the chorus is just another sample. Common's delivery is so lackluster it's sad . The very rapper who had classic storytelling songs like 'Stolen Moments' can't even tell a story like he gives the remotest shit. Vincent Staples' verse is better, but common is outclassed by most of the features on this album, so no surprise there. However, this is probably the best concept song on the album, so far. 3.5/5 10. Rewind That is reminiscent of the old NoID and Common Sense days, and it isn't forced at all. It feels natural, authentic. Common's verses on this track are obviously heartfelt. You can hear it in every line. This is definitely one of the better conceptualized joints on here. R.I.P. Jay Dee. 4/5 11. Out on Bond (ft. Vince Staples) is an okay beat, but the first verse leaves much to be desired. The chorus lacks creativity, pretty much like every other chorus on the album. Vince outshines Common again, but by a narrow margin. 2.75/5 12. 7 Deadly Sins is one of the better beats and songs. Common raps like he actually gives a shit and the lyrics match the title. 4/5 13. Young Hearts Run Free (ft. Cocaine 80's) has the best chorus on the album. Too bad I can't say the same about verses. The beat is a good track to end the album on, but it doesn't provide a smooth transition from the previous track. Common didn't spit with heart on this track, like most tracks on this album. 3.5/5 All in all, Common probably dropped this album to further exploit Chicago's media attention for the violence with which we're dealing. Overall rating: 2.85/5=:-(

    • LuciousAR

      Pretty Much...

    • Ape

      Very fair and accurate. To all you youngsters that don't get it and or old heads that refuse to dislike something that this legend has put forth, the above is obviously written by a dude that is a member of this culture.

  • Anonymous

    Killer verses, bad beats. 3/5

    • big mel

      killer verses? "im herain fuckin voices like when porn play" "girl you the baddest, im givin you the Gladys (K)night you ever had its" this album is terrible

  • oskamadison

    I'm listenin' to the album as I type this. Lyrically, Common is doin' what he does, no complaints there. Productionwise, I like No I.D.'s work in general but not really feelin' most of the beats on here. Overall, though, I like the tone of the album. Common made a joint FOR his city. Haven't copped it yet but I will just on the strength of his bars. One thing, he should have kept it a strictly Chi affair and replaced Big Sean (you would think coming from Detroit, he would have added on little more than he did...wait, this is Big Sean I'm talkin' 'bout, never mind...) with 'Ye or Lupe.

  • Anonymous

    This is an insightful album for mature minds. It's an artistic throwback to the days when blacks made music inspired by social gravity. It's sad that so many people on this site are incapable of appreciating this craft, and a testament to the intellectual regression infecting many within the current generation,

  • cfobia

    This is so right. I will play it onward till something this good comes out. Killer

  • Anonymous

    $85 associate degree hour! Seriously i do not grasp why additional individuals haven't tried this, I work 2 shifts, a pair of hours within the day and a pair of within the eveningAnd what is awful is i am engaging from home thus i purchase longer with my youngsters. Heres wherever I went Read more at...... ====================== WWW.CASHTOT.COM ======================

  • HipHopHead

    This album will definitely place somewhere on my top 5 list this year. 4.5/5

  • Dwill

    Hands down, definitely one of No IDs best production work. I can hear a more determined, more focused NO ID on the boards. Thank God Kanye had nothing to do with this album

  • RockinMad

    From what I heard until now, No ID's work is purely garbage and lazy. I'll give the album a full try though but I don't expect nothing from it.

  • g

    love this, more of the same as dreamer/believer but my god 'rewind that' nearly had me in tears. common at his worst(universal mind control) is better than most at their best great album

  • Anonymous

    The new generation: Fredo Santana Lil Durk King L Chief Keef Lil Reese Lil Herb Lil Bibby Hip Hip is saved!

  • Anonymous

    And you're a fake ass Hiphop listener so this garbage ass album is your cup of tea! It's my opinion and it's so many dick holders that just started listening to Hiphop in 2000 that don't know shit. I'm a fan of his but when his shit is subpar, I'm not conforming or riding with the bandwagon cause he's Common. And pussy, like I said. Some of the lyrics is cool but NOID has been garbage for a few years now. Shit sounds plastic. So if u got a fuckin problem with that, cum see me! 61st and Woodlawn Chicago's Southside! React and you won't make it back!

    • APE

      I have to agree with my guy right here. Conceptually he's trying to paint the picture, but he only succeeds on a few of these records. No ID's work on this record is equally hit and miss. Theres about 3 or four that connect. The rest sound like they're phoning it in. subpar. The first record is hot and then the next 5 or 6 sound uninspired, lyrically and musically. DX is losing points for this review. Theres nothing tepid about finding forever. Most people agree it's better than BE. This album certainly doesn't hold a candle to it. And Commons first album is Can I borrow a Dollar. You guys need hire some Rap fans to right these things. Another thing i want to add is I thing Common missed a great opportunity here. If it was me I'd of reached out the entire crop of young Chicago artists and made the entire album a collab. It could been artistically fly and built bridges between generations as well as potential street rivals. There are a few hot ones on here though. Kingdom, Rewind, 7 deadly sins.

    • Anonymous

      You're the primary reason people are killing one another. Ask yourself this - why am I incapable of expressing myself without anger and aggression? Could it be because you were brought into this world by two people who are not fit to be parents? The world isn't your problem, you are.

  • Anonymous

    resurrection is not his first album, get it together dx

  • 2turntables

    One day it all will make sense is a dope record. The problem was he put the Lauryn Hill song too early on the record and as dope as the song was the tempo and subject matter dragged the album down it should of been the last song. Just heard this new one its tight.

  • DavidDanielz

    Dope!!! Anyone hating Commons new work is young Drake fans. I can understand why you guys don't like it. You can't relate to real shit brother. Peace!

    • Brian

      love how since I don't like this mediocre piece of shit album that automatically makes me a drake fan. try a little harder next time.

  • Anonymous

    Shit is garbage! Mainly just the production

  • Anonymous

    Nice work.. 2nd dopest album of 2014,Pinata is still number 1

  • overrated album

    kinda wack

  • PAhiphopFAN

    Good stuff, but I need NoID to get back on the usual soulful stuff after this. I like the production on this, but as a one-time project. PEace!

  • ChicagoRilla1983

    This is the worst I've heard NO I.D. ever, its extremely disappointing while Common is good lyrically and I love the overall theme I'm sadly dissapointed that a legend just outside of his prime could make such trash. I'm even more dissapointed DX GAVE IT 4.5, must have gotten paid

  • Roger Rabbit

    I haven't heard it yet but im hearing alot of good reviews on it besides Common never disapoints well except maybe twice UMC, Electric Circus everything else either gets a classic stamp or almost classic stamp Common is in my Top 3 greatest Hip Hop Discography of all time with Nas coming in at #1

    • Anonymous

      pharaoh monch?? just putting it out there I kmow he hasn't had as many albums but he don't disappoint

  • BroMikeRules

    I agree with Mike on this one. This album is a wet pile of baby shit sizzling on the street pavement on chicago. 1 star for the wackness

  • BrotherMike

    This album is the equivalent to a used diaper after a visit to Fat Burger. Great job Common

  • Anonymous

    Great album, flawless execution by both No I.D. And Common

    • lol

      only someone who doesnt know who a real rapper is would call common a "fuck boy"...just cuz hes from chicago don't mean he's chief if u wanna hear rappers talking about "fuck boys", "30's" and "smoke" every song there is about 40 chief keef videos on youtube

    • bromike

      Nah Breh. this shit suck. I dont support fuck boys

    • stfu

      bro mike you sound like your parents abandoned you at age 2 and your still bitter about it. Why dont you stfu and go cry to your therapist about your pathetic life you bitter asshole

  • Smizzy

    For someone who failed on his plan to drop a mixtape, EP, and LP all last year, this most definitely makes up for it.

  • E Major

    Wow. I'm surprised everyone regards "Be" so highly. I like that album a lot, but for my taste, LWFC is his best work. Even better than "Resurrection" IMHO. *ducks*

    • dfadfasdf

      LWFC is probably the most hip hop album from him. It has slum village and dilla (even tho they the same) both on there. Great album. I also love Be. I also really liked Finding Forever. I dont fuck with a few of his albums, but alot of his shit is ON POINT!

    • Anonymous

      Without a doubt, LWFC is Common at his most charismatic and interesting. "Be" is good, but it's a bit on the safe side.

  • infinite P

    Another dope album from Common. Definitely one of Chi Town's finest. Salute.

  • The Roman

    This album is near perfect. Lose that "Speak My Piece" song and it's a perfect 5. While Like Water for Chocolate might have been more relevant to its era, nothing is above Be. Be gave second wind to his career and still plays well in today's rap community. The Dreamer, The Believer was a slept on album. However we lose sight that his body of work is near perfect. Even his 3rd and 4th best albums are better than most other rapper's greatest hits. UMC and Electric Circus are the only thing that kind of tarnish the discography.

  • Hermione Granger

    Allow me: 1. One Day It'll All Make Sense 2. Like Water For Chocolate 3. Resurrection 4. Be 5. Nobody's Smiling 6. Finding Forever 7. Electric Circus 8. The Dreamer / The Believer 9. Can I Borrow A Dollar? 10. Universal Mind Control Now that we got this figured out, Blamo

    • ChicagoRilla1983

      na: Resurrection Be The Dreamer, The Believer One Day It'll All Make Sense Like Water For Chocolate Finding Forever Nobody'S Smiling Can I Borrow A Dollar Electric Circus Universal Mind Control

    • Anonymous

      1. Like Water For Chocolate (classic) 2. Resurrection (classic) 3. Electric Circus (great album, underrated imho) 4. Be (very good, but little overrated) 5. Finding Forever (didn't like it 1st, kinda soft, but grew on me) 6. Nobody's Smiling (after three listens, can climb up) 7. Can I Borrow A Dollar? (For first try-out, it's pretty good) 8. One Day It'll All Make Sense (has dope joints, but as a whole it's over-produced) 9. Universal Mind Control (half of the album is wack, but other half -5-out-of-10- is very good) 10. The Dreamer, The Believer (a dissapointment, gave it multiple listens, never grew on me)

  • L-Boogie

    "Resurrection" is better than "Be" & "Finding Forever". "Like Water For Chocolate" still trumps all of them, tho'.

  • Anonymous

    Who comes on this site anymore? This album would have been good in the 80's or 90's but is trash now-a-days.

  • Hermione Granger

    This album is perfect, dark. I'ts like magic! 6/5

  • Regal84

    Be was a fukkin classic..."The Corner" is one of my favorite songs of all time..."They Say" is in heavy rotation as well..

  • drake runs rap

    album title should be nobody gives a fuck

    • Merrick

      I have a feeling that your only saying this cuz you're still a little salty about common's diss track to drake... dick rider...

  • Truth

    Best album so far this year. Five out of 5 easy. Common Sense is back and the rap game needs to wake the fuck up #noonyx

  • The Ice Cold Phenom

    This album is a monster! Holy shit it's dope! 4.5 Stars. NO ID is the best producer in the game. Common is the best lyricist in the game. Like he said on the album, they are the Chi Town version of Gangstarr!

  • drake runs rap

    so irrelevent so pointless to review this nobody. I bet only like 10 people actually cared about this. Common will never be on drakes level. None of these rappers touching drake in popularity these days or quality of music.

    • drake runs rap

      Let me also confess that I wear my pink panties and think about drake all night long inside me. Young Money 4 life! YOLO!

    • Merrick

      You are such a fucking cock rider... or just an annoying troll. Either way it says that more than 10 people gave this a 5 so you're already wrong.

    • Anonymous

      I hope you die of AIDS, I really fucking do.

  • Anonymous

    One of the GOATs

  • dashing28

    When will history realize that Like Water for Chocolate is actually Common's best work?? It was ambitious yet organic, musical, but still hip hop. It had a few more missteps than "Be" had which was a very tight consistent album, but it's highs were waaay higher than "Be" which was dope, but also a very safe album. Common over samples and breakbeats. Very safe, very easy, also very dope. But the music on Like Water for Chocolate is just so perfect.

    • 2turntables

      LWFC is tight. I wanna hear this one.

    • FLX

      Exactly. LWFC is my favorite rap music album of all time, both Com and the musicians involved (Dilla, Questlove, D'Angelo etc) were on their absolute peak then. The best songs on that album stand head and shoulders over anything else and A Song for Assata still gives me chills down my spine after all these years.

  • doggfather

    best since be?! wtf? finding forever was waaaay better than be. the dreamer/beleiver was better too!

  • Anonymous

    the production is garbage

  • oldschoold

    Best common since BE. DOPE SHIT!!!

  • fraspi

    Top 5 Common albums for sure.

  • Z-Man

    Best hip hop album of the year next to Cilvia Demo

  • wwliradio

    Solid Album Win It on wwliradio(dot)com in the Contest Section Good Luck

  • Putuma

    Common went for the feel of a horror movie soundtrack. The darkest, illest and hardest album he ever made. After all, he warned us beforehand. #NobodysSmiling

  • dejemen1

    Common never let me down. Grown man music.

  • Chris

    Best hip hop album of 2014 so far. A true breathe of fresh air in a near unbearably stale genre....

  • Anonymous

    I had no idea this was even coming out, his label fucking sucks lol Gotta go check Itunes for this

  • Harlem's Reckoning

    I don't know man, Common's flow in my opinion is his achilles heel. He sounds lost at times trying to get into cadence at times which is getting a little more obvious as beats become more complex. His subject matter is always on point tho. Average album. Big Sean's voice makes me skip Diamonds entirely. So far, "Be" is his best recent work, we'll see what he's got next time around. 3 stars

  • Milan

    Absolutely amazing album!

  • Dannychise

    Finding Forever is better. Be honest now.