Nobody's Smiling

Album: Nobody's Smiling (2014)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • The title track of Common's tenth studio album, the name and concept of the record was inspired by the violence and high crime rate in Common's hometown of Chicago. "I was having a discussion with (producer) No I.D. and we were talking about what was going on [in Chicago]," he explained to The Boombox. "This ain't the first time that violence is happening in Chicago. It's happening in cities all over America."

    "I felt the attention needs to be brought to it because we pay so much attention to what's going on overseas, but there are young people dying and innocent people dying [in the U.S.]," he continued. "It was something that needed to be brought up and a discussion needs to be started."
  • This was the first song that Common wrote for Nobody's Smiling. It originated from a conversation he had with his producer, No I.D. The rapper was inspired by a 1990 Eric B. & Rakim' cut. "I could remember going back home listening to Rakim's, 'The Ghetto,'" he recalled during a video posted on XXLMag.com. "And thinking like 'I gotta deliver something that's gon' be like—that's gon' be—no matter what city you in."

    "I was thinking bout 'If I'm in Chicago right now, how do I feel?'" Common continued. "And I wanted to step in the shoes of somebody that's in that place and still give a perspective that may be different than just—than you may hear from another artist."
  • There is a significant meaning behind the 'Nobody's Smiling' title. Common told The Boombox: "The album title, it came from Rakim saying, 'Nobody's smiling' that was scratched in his song 'In the Ghetto,' which is one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever made."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Gene Simmons of Kiss

Gene Simmons of KissSongwriter Interviews

The Kiss rocker covers a lot of ground in this interview, including why there are no Kiss collaborations, and why the Rock Hall has "become a sham."

Queen

QueenFact or Fiction

Scaramouch, a hoople and a superhero soundtrack - see if you can spot the real Queen stories.

Weezer

WeezerFact or Fiction

Did Rivers Cuomo grow up on a commune? Why did they name their albums after colors? See how well you know your Weezer in this Fact or Fiction.

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"They're Playing My Song

As a songwriter and producer, Narada had hits with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Starship. But what song does he feel had the greatest impact on his career?

Daryl Hall

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater RevivalFact or Fiction

Is "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" about Vietnam? Was John Fogerty really born on a Bayou? It's the CCR edition of Fact or Fiction.