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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

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

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