Not even 24 hours after announcing a new album, Nobody Smiling — a second straight full-length collaboration with longtime producer No I.D. — Common fires off “War,” the first song from the record.
Where 2011’s The Dreamer/The Believer was warmly crafted but overly comfortable, “War” sounds like the soundtrack to an uprising. Inspired by the ongoing violence in Chicago (and in inner cities across the country), there’s a different level of intensity here, with Common sounding noticeably sharper than he was on TD/TB; there’s real anger and frustration palpable in his voice.
With its dark, grimy sound, and being that it’s the first significant song we’ve heard from Common since his ill-fated “beef” with Drake a couple of years ago, “War” in some ways recalls another early Common single: namely, “The Corner” – which marked a re-introduction of sorts following the polarizing Electric Circus. Only time will tell if “War” is a similarly promising introduction to a full-length masterclass.