Nobody's Smiling

Album: Nobody's Smiling (2014)
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  • 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 "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."


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