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."