Even without his Green Lantern power ring (at least for now ), Common is unstoppable. Just give him a phat beat and a studio, and he’ll do the rest.
The Chicago MC with permanent residency among the hip-hop elite told us Friday morning (February 22) that he is still planning a full album for the end of the year, but he will put out a smaller body of work sooner than that.
“The Believer is gonna be my next LP,” he said via phone from L.A. “The Believer is talking about believing in yourself and believing in God and believing in what you do. … That title made me think of what I wanna be, who I wanna be. I wanna believe in what I do, and I do believe in what I do. It was simple as far as the title and concept. I wanna also mention that I’m coming out with an EP before the album. The EP is in June and called Invincible Summer.” He plans to have the album out by the release of his next movie, “Wanted,” on June 27.
Com said the EP will be conceptual and revolve around a story he’s developing right now. Some of it will deal with love. The project was spurred by a remix Com and Just Blaze were working on of his 2000 song “The Light.” The remix came out sounding like a new song. He also had a different version of “I Want You” — from his most recent album, Finding Forever — in the vault, so he decided to build from those two.
“I was like, ’I might as well start working on an EP and start releasing songs out there that would feel good — and not put too much weight on it.’ It’s an EP, it’s six songs, similar to the way a mixtape would come out.”
Kanye West is overseeing the EP but isn’t scheduled to do any production as of now. Those duties will be handled by the Neptunes, Blaze and Kareem Riggins. West will be producing The Believer, however. Common also says he’ll join Kanye on some select dates of his Glow in the Dark Tour .
On the movie side, Common said he was being offered the part of Road Block in the G.I. Joe movie , but nothing has been solidified yet. His role in the Justice League of America film as Green Lantern is on hold as of now while studio executives decide when to start production, but in April we’ll see Com as the notorious Coates in “Street Kings.”
“I play this gangster. He also has another side to him,” the MC said. “The whole film, they’re searching for me and my partner because they know we committed this crime that was really bad. So basically, I play this dark gangster man. It’s a good little twist to the character and to the film. It’s good to be part of the movie with Forest Whitaker and Keanu Reeves. It’s a pleasure to work with them in a drama that’s fresh. Game is also in the film. I didn’t get to do any scenes with him. I know he had to be excited to be a part of the movie too, ’cause I was excited. It’s a couple of scenes he does, as well as myself. I don’t have a lot of scenes, but in the [theatrical] trailer, it looks like I’m the co-star with Forest and Keanu.”
Common is still basking in the glow from working on the new-to-DVD “American Gangster” last year. He was surprised that the film got just two Oscar nominations (for art direction, and best supporting actress for Ruby Dee), and was overlooked for Best Picture.
“I was [stunned],” Common said of the flick’s one major nomination, for Ruby Dee’s supporting performance. “I felt the momentum and quality of the film was there enough for it to be an Oscar-nominated picture. It’s a classic. I think it deserved some Oscar love. But I guess that’s how sometimes awards come. You never know what’s going to be nominated.”
“It’s not a reflection of the film,” T.I., who played Common’s son in the film, told us a couple of weeks ago of the omission. “It’s a reflection of the industry. It [wasn’t] a lot going on with the [writers’] strike and all. It’s easy to get yourself tied up in a lot of other things to where you can overlook something very important. Just like they say in hindsight, [Jay-Z’s] Reasonable Doubt should have got five mics [in The Source magazine when it was released]. I think it’s one of the best films of the year.”
“It felt good to have a movie that was seen universally by people of all ages and economic backgrounds and colors,” Common continued. “I’ve talked to people on the plane, and they’ve been like, ’I’ve seen you in “American Gangster.” ’ I can go in the neighborhood and they be like, ’I’ve seen “American Gangster” three or four times.’ People from everywhere responded to it. It was pretty much the biggest thing going when it came out. So many people went to see it, and it was powerful. It is powerful.”
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