Hip-hop legend Common’s tenth studio album, Nobody’s Smiling, is another gem to add to Common’s already legendary discography.
22 years into the game it’s apparent that Common has still got it. Throughout his career, but especially as of late, his album sales on the Billboard 200 haven’t been anything to write home about. And at the age of 42 and without having a charting single since 2008 or a top 10 album since 2007, don’t expect much saleswise from this album either; but as the saying in music goes, “sales don’t equal quality” and that definitely applies to this album.
This album features a lot of young talent throughout such as: Lil Herb, James Fauntleroy, Big Sean, Jhene Aiko, Vince Staples, Elijah Blake, Dreezy, and Snoh Aalegra. Fauntleroy of course is the vocalist of No I.D.’s hip hop collective known as Cocaine 80s. Cocaine 80s and Vince Staples both appear twice on the album’s 13 tracks. The album has a great mix of singers: Fauntleroy, Aiko, Elijah Blake, Snoh Allegra; and rappers: Lil Herb, Big Sean, Vince Staples; and even a spoken word verse from G.O.O.D. Music’s own Malik Yusef.
Just like he did on The Dreamer The Believer, One Day It’ll All Make Sense, and Ressurection, No I.D. produced every track on this album. Com and No I.D. have great chemistry so all the beats on this album are on point. Especially the track “Real” with Elijah Blake on the hook brings back that old funky/soulful hip hop we’re so used to and love from Common.
If you’re on the fence for this album, I’d advise listening to “The Neighborhood”, “Real”, and “Diamonds” first and I’m sure you’ll then want to hear the rest. If you’re a big fan of Common, or even just a fan of hip hop, you will love this album. All in all, it is obvious throughout this album that Common has still got it and as long as the people are still clamoring for more music, hopefully he’ll keep making it.