Old School Record Pick: Common’s ‘Nobody’s Smiling’

Every week, we receive a music blog from Old School Records in Forest Park. This week’s focuses on Common’s “Nobody’s Smiling:

COMMON “Nobody’s Smiling” CD/DBL LP (DEF JAM)

For his tenth platter, the south side street savvy lyricist rapper known as Common has returned to the Chicago beat master No I.D. to get back to his roots and messages for his hometown.

Venturing back after stints with Hollywood movies, Kanye West and NYC, Common regains what made him the local hip hop underground force that has made him a credible artist without compromising his integrity for mere commercial success.

Most of his major attention started in the year 2000 teaming up with the greatest beatman ever in popular music J. Dilla on the “Like Water For Chocolate” album and the Grammy winning single “The Light”. After that, Common struggled to get his messages across to his core underground audience prior to the hits and the new fickle mainstream listeners.

Common’s characters speak from experience on “Nobody’s Smiling” with struggles of economic and gograph problems on the inner city streets of the city of Chicago. It’s a bleak affair about attending a funeral planning a revenge for a neighborhood murder and the financial struggles of growing up in poverty in this city of ours.

The one touching song “Rewind That” pays tribute to his old friend J. Dilla, who he owes the success of hits and a Grammy to. Hip hop can be very real when it discards the fantasy and bravado for the life experiences that do not romanticize the life and struggle that many of endure to survive.

You may not smile but you can find yourself compassionate for the ones’ stories within these grooves that may have it harder than you in this journey of life. Peter J. Gianakopoulos

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