Twenty years after the release of his critically-acclaimed album Resurrection, Common reunites with No I.D. on Nobody’s Smiling. During his trip to L.A. this week, the hip-hop veteran sat down with Rap-Up TV to discuss his 10th album, which arrives July 22 via Def Jam.
The concept-driven project, inspired by the violence in Chicago, includes appearances from Cocaine 80s, Elijah Blake, Vince Staples, and Jhené Aiko, who is featured on the No I.D.-produced “Blak Majik.”
“Jhené Aiko is an artist that I truly respect,” said Common. “I think she has a unique voice in music, in culture. When I say unique voice, not only is it her singing voice, but her perspective, who she is, what she offers to the world is something that’s very, very special. It’s a soul to it. It’s a spirit to it.”
“I wanted to team up with her and do a song that was fresh. I called it ‘Blak Majik’ because I say we make something out of nothing,” he explained. “It’s also a feel-good, fun song, but it’s hard, it’s rough. It’s something special about that song too.”
He also worked with his G.O.O.D. Music brother Big Sean on “Diamonds,” for which a video was recently shot in L.A. “‘Diamonds’ for me, talks about shining. You got shine no matter what. No matter what situation you gotta get to shining. I’m talking about shining for today, not waiting for tomorrow. You just gotta embody it now.”
While he didn’t work with Kanye West on this album, he did attend his fairytale wedding. “That was a very special wedding in the way that it was fun,” he said. “I had been to Italy, but never to Florence. It felt very family-oriented, very simple but beautiful, and it felt like they cared about the guests. The way we were treated, it was royal. Everything was simple and beautiful and we had the best time.”