Common’s Nobody’s Smiling, his 10th solo album, which he dropped on Tuesday provides a deep look into Chicago’s streets. The album’s dark and penetrating beats do well to help Com paint a picture of his native city; and while the LP excels there is one ingredient that seems to be missing: Kanye West.
“Honestly Kanye, he didn’t produce on the album,” Common told MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway during a special “RapFix” interview that aired on MTV Jams on Thursday. “No I.D. is the center point, he’s the producer.”
Yeezy produced two of Common’s most-revered, LPs 2005’s Be and it’s 2007 follow-up Finding Forever. Both albums were released on ’Ye’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint, as well as 2008’s Universal Mind Control. In 2011, Common dropped The Dreamer/The Believer without G.O.O.D. and with Nobody’s Smiling he’s reunited with No I.D., who he has known since the fourth grade.
“Artium is the label I’m on, that’s No I.D.’s label on Def Jam,” Common clarified, confirming that he was no longer a part of West’s label in an official capacity. “G.O.O.D. Music that’s still my family, ’Ye is my brother, but point-blank business wise it wasn’t like ’Ye was really like, ’Let’s go do this album.’
“I think his focus was somewhere else; marriage, life, baby — in good places,” he continued.
The truth is, while a Yeezy beat or two would have been nice, No I.D. and Common’s chemistry is more than enough to create a compelling piece of work — after all, No I.D. was the producer who put Com on the map way back in 1994 with his breakout album Resurrection.
As for Common and Kanye, there are absolutely no hard feelings. “I cherish our friendship more than music,” Com said. “I mean I’m grateful for the music we did, ’cause Be and Finding Forever them joints took me to another level and we grew. But we got a friendship that’s stronger than that, so if we never make music again, as long as we’re bros, I’m good.”