Common Plans To Drop New Album In November — In Between Acting Gigs

'I feel a lot more free with my music now that I'm doing films,' the MC says.

During his acceptance speech at the Grammys , Kanye West joked that he and frequent collaborator Common shouldn’t drop albums in the same year, because they’re always competing against each other for awards. Well, it looks like Com agrees, and he’s already a step ahead of his good friend. Common is eyeing the fourth quarter of ’08 to release his next potential classic.

“I’m looking around November,” he told MTV News of the release date of his follow-up to last year’s Finding Forever . “I’m working on a new album called The Believer. I’m just getting in the mode. I been touring a lot and been working on verses here and there. Now, I’m starting to get focused on the album, letting it take its shape. And at the same time [I'll] be working on films, God willing.”

The Chicago MC’s Hollywood dance card has been filling up quite nicely: He appears in this spring’s “Street Kings” with Keanu Reeves and Game, and in “Wanted” with Angelina Jolie , which hits theaters June 27. He’s also patiently waiting for his turn as the Green Lantern, assuming the “Justice League” movie will get back on track after being shelved during the writers’ strike.

In the meantime, Com has also found time for a little social activism. He’s hosting a lyrics contest with Think MTV’s “It’s Your Sex Life” campaign, asking aspiring rappers and poets to express why it’s important to get tested for HIV.

All this moonlighting has actually helped in the recording studio, he said.

“Q-Tip and I been planning the Standard album,” he said, referring to the duo the pair have formed. “We been conceptualizing, but we just gotta continue to work on it. We will. I look at it like two jazz musicians getting together, the way Charlie Parker and cats would get together and do work. I feel a lot more free with my music now that I’m doing films and stuff, because I don’t put as much pressure on the music. It ain’t my only source of income and way to make a living.”