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Common Previews Clubby "Invincible Summer," Suggests Tune for Obama

May 1, 2008 1:13 PM ET

Common stopped by the Rolling Stone offices yesterday to play songs from his new album, Invincible Summer, which will come out in July, less than a year after his Grammy-winning disc, Finding Forever. "I just caught a spirit," says the rapper, who cut the entire album in the last two months and says the album title was inspired by a friend telling him of the Albert Camus quote "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." "I wasn't trying to prove anything to anybody or impress anybody, I was just trying to make music that feels good." The MC, best known for his introspective, often political rhymes, decided to make a more club-oriented album after he hit the town in Prague, where he was shooting a movie. "My own DJ was there — and even he wasn't spinning my songs," Common says. "I said, "I got to make some club music." And he did: "Universal Mind Control" is a bass-heavy rump-shaker produced by the Neptunes with echo-y vocals and good-time rhymes: "Like cash money, I stay in the pocket."

Mr. DJ — who created classic OutKast tracks "B.O.B." and "Ms. Jackson" — produced several tracks, including "Make My Day," a sunny hip-hop version of "California Girls" with a Cee-Lo hook, and "Runaway,"an upbeat duet with awesome up-and-coming indie-star Santogold. The Chicago MC tells his story of overcoming long odds to find success on the Neptunes-produced "What a World," with a catchy hook by pop duo Chester French. The MC is looking out for a certain fellow Chi-town native on "Changes," an optimistic mid-tempo look at the future full of singing birds and back-up singers. "If Obama wins, that's the type of song he could walk up to the podium with," says Common, who has attended the same Reverend Jeremiah Wright-run church as the presidential hopeful since he was eight years old. "No cursing or nothing."

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Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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