I knew you thought I was done with this shit, but nahhh b, I still gonna be droppin reviews like once every “whenever the fuck I feel like”… or thereabout. Anyways let’s do this COMMON – NOBODY’S SMILING TRACK BY TRACK REVIEW.
1. The Neighbourhood (ft. Lil Herb & Cocaine 80’s)
This track was a perfect intro track to the album. Lil Herb and Com were spitting vivid lyrics detailing “tales” of just the general scenes of the average Chicago neighbourhood and how they saw it from their eyes. Really smooth beat too by super producer No ID. No ID Produced the ENITIRE album FYI so when I mention beats, just bare that in mind. He flipped a sample of a Curtis Mayfield track called “the Other Side Of Town” so subtly, way really great shit from No ID. Lil Herb blew me away with is aggressive delivery and lyrics, and his story telling was on point. Great album opener!
PS. He does this interlude at the end of a Chicago news reporter giving minor reports on the raio, sort of highlighting the theme of giving you a journey through Chicago which is essentially what the album is about. This was repeated on a number of tracks throughout the record, interesting concept.
2. No Fear
Continuing with the story-telling theme, Common details the mind set of someone (presumably his younger-self in Chicago), speaking about how he has no fear about anything he faces and talks about how he really approaches some of the ills of his past and current life, and advises that you should to. There is a sample flip here on the beat too, but I wasn’t able to track the credits… so fuck that, it was a great beat that’s all you really need to know anyways.
3. Diamonds (ft. Big Sean)
This is the second single from the album… but ubnfortunately, sighhhh. BIG FUCKIN SEAN, why Lord why? Sean is crooning on the chorus like a frog my g. It’s terrible. Common flow and lyrics are stellar as usual though. On the bridge between Com’s first verse and second Sean absolutely FUCKS the track all the way UP with a horrid Migos flow and lyrics like a pre-schooler, yo this track apart from Com’s flow is real ASS my nigga, I don’t fuck wit it!
4. Blak Magik (ft. Jhene Aiko)
At first I thought this was trash, to be honest. But bruh after the third listen, this shit blew me away. Common’s lyrics and flow are wayyy to on point to ignored yo. The beat is what turned me off initially, but it grew on me. Whatever lyrics are looping that is driving the beat is kina annoying at first, but once you get accustomed to it, you gonna love this track. Jhene Aiko was perfect as fuckin usual, her voice is so soothing and infectious, it kina gets my dick hard :/ but anyway…
5. Speak My Piece
THIS THAT CLASSIC CHI TOWN GOD LEVEL COMMON!!! This track is perfect hip-hop, the Biggie sample from Hypnotize… yooo, No ID cooked up some cocaine here. Common came so correct with his lyrics too, phenomenal track. It has no real theme just one of them raptiy rap tracks, showcasing flow and lyrical ability, so fucking raw. I FUCK WITH THIS HARD.
6. Hustle Harder (ft. Snoh Alegra & Dreezy)
Yo this track’s theme was actually refreshing. Common put together a not really explored concept by a male rapper, detailing a female that hustles harder than most males. He really went in lyrically with the concept depicting her lifestyle so vividly. Fellow Chicago rapper, Dreezy came SUPERRRR HARDDD WAT THE FUCK. I have no idea who she is but I back tracked her entire catalogue after this verse of flames! This track was that classic, male female hip hop duo, Great stuff.
7. Nobody’s Smiling (ft. Malik Yusef)
This is easily my favortie song and in my opinion the best song on the album. Off the bat, the beat is so fucking dark and hard… JEEZUUS. No ID made this in some kina underground MMA training facility with no ventilation or light, barely had oxygen down there or sumn yo, fuck. Common’s lyrics were 10/10 again and flow so slick too. He raps about basically that nobody is smiling in Chicago, and shit is real out there. Really embodies what the album is about essentially, clearly it’s the title track of the record. MALIK YUSEF my worddd, closes the track with a fantastic Haiku, some dense metaphors about Chicago street life, absolutely perfect… He been doing that tho. He signed to good music and he’s just a poet, so his is THAT GOOD, check him out he did a similar haiku on the track Sin City on the Cruel Summer compilation.
8. Real (ft. Elijah Blake)
This track is clearly for the ladies, and man Common really executes it so smoothly. Basically detailing what a “real” nigga is and the he essentially is a real nigga. Elijah Blake’s voice definitely gonna get dem female panties all moist n what not. But back to the raps, I really love Common’s flown he rides the beat so perfectly, and comes with raw lyrics that makes this fee like a throwback from the “Like Water For Chocolate” era of Com sense. This track should be a single, with accompanying visuals, really top notch stuff.
9. Kingdom (ft. Vince Staples)
LET ME GET TO THIS BEAT THO!!! Kingdom contains a sample from "O Yes My Lord" by Voices Of Conquest & "Is There Any Love" by Trevor Dandy, and it absolutely take the track to a heights I never imagined. Can somebody give No ID a fucking Grammy? This really just a story detailing a man struggle on the streets of Chicago trying to make to, and make a better Chicago hopefully getting to what he deems the “kingdom”. He simultaneously compares this kingdom to getting into heaven and contrasting street life to what it takes to get there. Really deep stuff. Vince Staples is lowkey one of my favourite rappers right now, and yo he SHINES ALL OVER THIS TRACK. His flow was fucking GODLIKE, better than Common’s and that is saying a lot. The lyrics fit the theme perfectly, I’ll go as far as saying he outshone Com here yo. But the beat and uplifting feel of this track couple with Com’s raspy voice was something straight from a movie, fucking theatrical shit, 11/10!!!
10. Rewind That
This track was Common detailing his come up as a rapper. Common’s lyrics are so vivid and powerful, it’s almost unfair. The first time I heard this I saw a movie in my head of exactly what I was hearing. The first verse was an ode to No ID(his cousin and first producer as a rapper) and twilight tone his manager. The second verse details Common’s days working with the late great J. Dilla, as a rapper and producer duo. He even compared them to rap super duo Gangstar. Essentially this track is Common rewinding time and reliving everything that helped him make it as a rapper in the early days, really emotionally powerful stuff. The track ends with a sample of an interview of Common talking about J. Dilla and J. Dilla talking about what Common’s music is to him. It was a perfect album closer.
BRIEF THOUGHTS ON BONUS CUTS
11. Out on Bond (ft. Vince Staples)
Superb beat and flow by both rappers. Again Vince outshined Common, fantastic track prolly top 6 on the record on a whole.
12. 7 Deadly Sins
This track should have been on the original!!!! The lyrics on this track are so fucking relatable it’s almost as if Common wrote this for us al. He details and applies the seven deadly sins from the bible to real life, in this case street life. It was done so well yo, really one of the best lyrical Common tracks in years.
13. Young hearts Run Free(ft. Cocaine 80’s)
Really smooth track, good as a bonus cut really, no need for this to be on the dark, raw overall. Feel on the original tracklist. Cocaine 80’s really adds this vintage blues feel to records that I super appreciate, really nice stuff.
Clocking in at 41 minutes, this album is short and oh so sweet. This album is the new stamp for Chicago, a new feel to Common’s music. Common is a very clear, exciting lyricist. Exciting in that he sounds so fucking raw, and good over a beat… and he paints these perfect pictures to get the emotional intangible aspect of the track to the listener perfectly. This album was really refreshing, one of my favorites of the entire year so far, second prolly to Ab-Soul’s these Days maybe. I thoroughly enjoyed this album, bar that Big Sean track which sucked global dick.
I recommend this to ANYONE, this is WILD FIRE!
MY RATING: 8.75 OUTTA 10
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