Common f/ Jhene Aiko on Jimmy Kimmel

The Nobody’s Smiling tour continues and invades the Jimmy Kimmel Live stage as Common tabs young artists on the rise Jhene Aiko & Vince Staples for their guest spots on “Blak Majik” and “Kingdom”, respectively.

“Blak Majik” got the airtime tonight and I love the song choice for the nationally televised affair, which is first and foremost unlike anything that usually airs on TV, amirite? Common and Jhene set the mood by saying no words (below), then Com delivered with the high energy he saves for the last song of his concerts. Jhene tapped into her J Hennessy rap alter ego for her show stealing bars and after that, it was a wrap. Loved the dancers in front of them too, just wish there was more.

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Below, “Kingdom” gets the shine with Common and Vince Staples spitting their different perspectives from being a father and a youth, respectively. These were two hard songs for Common to pick and perform live due to the ever-changing fast pace, but all things considered, he rapped everything pretty clearly. Maybe it’s TV, but perhaps his voice could have even popped more? But whatever the case, both performances are well-worth your look here.

ICYMI: Common “City To City” [Bonus Track] | Common ‘Nobody’s Smiling’ [Album Stream] | Common talks with Rick Fox on NBATV + The Breakfast Club

Common “Kingdom” f/ Vince Staples

For the 1st single to Nobody’s Smiling, Common enlists Hype Williams to direct a mini-movie of sorts, clocking in at over 7 minutes. The video kicks off with a spoken word intro first set to cold looks at the iconic Chicago skyline – the palette perfect as a transition into the harsh reality and mood of the streets. Cue the choir for “Kingdom” and the No I.D.-produced record acts as the audio backdrop the rest of the way for a series of scenes that depict the life of a young hustler doing what he chooses to do. The NSFW visuals even take a turn to the strip club. As such, Hype and Com provide a raw, real look at what’s being reported in today’s urban youth culture, specifically with Common’s words on his hometown of Chicago. I dig the direction of the art piece to let the messages of “Kingdom” reign larger. Easy must-watch and easy *Tibs Fav.

Heat-Spurs II (as told thru song)

With the 2014 NBA Finals underway tonight, I feel it’s only right to write some words on Heat-Spurs II, especially after my previous soundtracks to recap a 1st Round for the Ages and Playoff Preview. While the latter link contains some now-laughable predictions, I can at least hang my hat on the correct one that matters: Spurs vs. Heat. I wrote the Spurs would be celebrating to “Trophies” back then in April and I won’t be changing my pick now since after seeing the Spurs at their best the past 2 rounds has only made me more confident they stop the Heat Peat.

So that means you can stop reading right now, right? Wrong! What new song embodies the Spurs and Heat this June? Before I reveal, a movie-style trailer above to get you amped up for Game 1.


I can’t remember when I was this excited about a rematch in which I had no horse in the race. Maybe that’s in large part because the NBA Finals rarely boasts rematches: the last one was Bulls-Jazz in ’97 and ’98 and I clearly had a horse in that race. Before that it was Pistons-Lakers in ’89 and ’90 and I was 3 years old. I should note though that the Celtics-Lakers Finals in 2 out of 3 years has a similar to vibe to the Spurs this time hosting the Heat.

Alas, there is one new song that instantly jumped to mind for various reasons to personify the most complete team in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs.

Common’s new single “Kingdom” is an exemplary record of depth and substance that looks at the harsh realities of urban life, set to a monumental, ominous church sound. Com Sense links up with producer and longtime collaborator No I.D. for the first single to Nobody’s Smiling, and together, they team up for a raw hip hop gem on par to the quality of their collabs 20 years ago on Ressurrection or even before that on Com’s 1992 debut, Can I Borrow a Dollar?. It’s just that “Kingdom” has that cutting-edge 2014 raw sound just as Common’s first two albums were cutting-edge for the early 90s.

So needless to say, you can see where I’m going here right? Common and No I.D. are the Duncan and Popovich of hip hop: both duos excelling and adapting their craft today as all-star veterans after establishing such rapport and success together as rookies in the game. And if Com & No I.D. are Duncan and Pop, then think of Vince Staples as the Kawhi Leonard of “Kingdom” as he infuses his youthful energy and thought-provoking perspective into the single. If Staples didn’t bring his ‘A’ game to bring the song full circle with the concluding line, “make the best from the least on the quest for them keys, to the kingdom,” then Common’s single wouldn’t be a championship-level record.

The analogy applies for Kawhi who has improved since last year’s Finals to become a deadly two-way threat, capable of slowing LeBron James down and making him work defensively. His emerging confidence, and health, along with Ginobili’s improved health and play compare to this time last year are enough to swing my prediction to the Spurs, especially with Tony Parker looking like he’ll be OK to start out the series.

But on the other side, there’s LeBron James and the Miami Heat and there ain’t no better song to describe them than Drake’s newest record this past Sunday, “0 to 100”.

0 to 100 real quick

This comparison is a little more self-explanatory. For the past four seasons really, the Miami Heat have had the quickest on/off switch in the league. When the Big 3 are clicking, or LeBron, Wade, and a role player or two, the Heat are unguardable. That usually goes hand-in-hand with forcing timely turnovers and letting LeBron loose in the open court. Therefore, the most fascinating matchup will be the Spurs-league leading assist offense versus the Heat defense. I’m curious to see if LeBron will be jumping those passing lanes and if he does and is successful, watch out.

Speaking of LeBron, isn’t he due for a dominant legendary Finals? Jalen Rose brought this up in yesterday’s Jalen Rose Report: LeBron hasn’t yet had the Jordan-esque game-to-game series yet in his previous 4 trips to the Finals. With LeBron fully in his prime and experience in the clutch, a LeBron-led Heat series win in 6 would not at all be surprising. After all, noted Drizzy fan Bron may be rapping this line from “0 to 100” during tonight’s Game 1 warmups.

If I ain’t the greatest than I’m headed for it!

*nods head* Perfectly applicable.

That said, Spurs in 6 in perfectly poetic fashion in Miami.


And having said that, I can’t help but resist a couple bonus tidbits today:

What were Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant doing the night of the eve of The Finals? Why, having dinner together reports TMZPerhaps they were talking about their respective Finals anniversaries today… (albeit Jordan’s a tad bit more iconic)


(As pumped as I am for tonight, those were the days.)

Common f/ Vince Staples “Kingdom”

It’s time!

Simply put, that’s how Common prefaces his first new track of 2014 and first single off the upcoming album, Nobody’s Smiling – the Vince Staples-featured “Kingdom”. Right away, there is a monumental mood to the record with the church choir that always connects right with an artist like Common. Com proceeds to rhyme on personal experience of coming up in the streets and not wanting the same for his kids, most notably on the second verse and my instant favorite of the track. Staples’ verse is 3rd and sounds great in contrast to Common’s voice and the production. His delivery switches up a third of the way through and from then on, Vince definitely brought his A-game to match the living legend Com. Lastly, no confirmation just yet, but with how Common has been working with No I.D. on the new music (plus the producer’s connection to new Def Jam signee Vince Staples), plus the sound itself, I think it’s No I.D. behind the boards.

Instant *Tibs Fav. and a single you’ll definitely see more of… not necessarily on the radio or the Hot 100, but with the upcoming music video directed by Hype Williams. Watch the new trailer for that below as well.

Vince Staples & Bad Rabbits “Made”

The first single from the upcoming Converse EP (yes, the shoe compandy) ‘CONS Vol 2′ as Vince Staples & Bad Rabbits actually recorded this collab in L.A. and Chicago (Sunset Sound Recording Studio and good ole Chicago Recording Company). Fresh sound! This one could grow with more listens.


h/t Billboard

Vince Staples ‘Shyne Coldchain 2’

Vince Staples’ new mixtape is here — Shyne Coldchain 2 — and I’m eager to see how he handles all of these No I.D. beats he’s been graced. The legendary Chi-Town producer handles much of the 10 tracks with Jhene Aiko and James Fauntleroy the lone vocal contributors (both those tracks are solid). Listen/download below.