Common is setting out to paint a picture of what life’s like for a young black kid in his native Chicago with his upcoming album, Nobody Smiling, and his newest release from the project does just that.
“The Neighborhood,” which dropped on Thursday (July 17), opens with James Fauntleroy singing a capella: “A thousand lives ago, we were young and we didn’t know we were trading our crowns for our souls.”
After 30 seconds of the crooner’s soothing voice describing a dark picture, the No I.D.-produced beat for the track drops, and Com launches into his first verse. “The hustlers was the tastemakers and trendsetters/ They the ones that fed us, hoping that the Feds don’t get us/ The era of Reagan and terror of Bush,” he raps at one point.
The song’s second verse is delivered by Lil Herb, A generation removed from the veteran rapper, but a fellow Chi-town native, he weaves similar tales: “Ain’t nobody stop the violence, why everybody keep lyin’/ N—as throw up peace signs, but everybody keep dying,” the up-and-comer laments.
Also on Thursday, Com dropped a teaser for the video for “Diamonds,” featuring Big Sean.
Nobody Smiling is set to hit stores on July 22.