Common to release Universal Mind Control
Universal Mind Control, the Common album originally titled Invincible Summer and pegged as a literal summer release, will finally hit stores on December 9th through Geffen. While Santogold's reported appearance hasn't made the cut in a final tracklisting, Kanye West, Cee-Lo and Pharrell Williams all have guest spots, and the production was split between The Neptunes and noted OutKast producer, Mr. DJ. Oddly enough, Common already has another project in the pipeline after all this drama.
"[The Believer] is gonna be the next album," Common told MTV.com. "I was ready to make The Believer, then I started working on an EP called Invincible Summer. Then I was like, 'OK, "Universal Mind Control"-that's the name of the single.' Like we said on the song, 'If you wanna dance, let's dance.' That's what that whole concept is like: Whatever you want the people to do, you create the music for them to do it."
Title: Universal Mind Control
Release date: 12/9/08
Label: Geffen Records
Single: Universal Mind Control
Buy at: Amazon
The techno-inspired club banger, Universal Mind Control, presents a fresh sound and change of direction for the Chicago-bred musician. Common created Universal Mind Control because he felt the feel-good music was the only music missing from his body of work.
“I’ve always been passionate about what I do,” says Common. “I put my heart into Universal Mind Control, and I think it’ll reach audiences I've never touched before.”
With every new release Common is able to gain the eyes and ears of an entirely new audience. The artist began his career with stimulating lyrics in his 1992 debut, Can I Borrow a Dollar?, and subsequent release Resurrection. One Day It’ll All Make Sense introduced Common to the neo-soul/bohemian crowd, Like Water for Chocolate solidified his position with the next generation of soul musicians, and the adventurous Electric Circus saw Common expand his horizons even more. Be and Finding Forever, resulted in classic, soulful albums that would garner four Grammy nominations for Be and a Grammy Award for Finding Forever.
To promote Universal Mind Control Common produced two videos: one a high tech futuristically looking piece shot with a modern and sleek fashion sensibility for the high energy title track “Universal Mind Control” and the other a ground-breaking piece for “Announcement,” which features state of the art post effects and should be available right around the album release date.
Both videos are directed by Hype Williams and both songs are produced by and feature Pharrell.
Produced by The Neptunes and Mr. DJ (of Outkast fame), Universal Mind Control hosts a number of fun-filled tracks including “Make My Day,” a sunny hip-hop version of “California Girls” with a Cee-Lo hook, and “Everywhere,” an upbeat duet that draws its guitar riff from Pat Benatar's “Love Is A Battlefield.” The Chicago MC manages to remain true to his roots with “What A World,” a story that is based on Common’s journey of overcoming long odds to find success that features a catchy hook by pop duo Chester French and “Changes,” an optimistic look at the future that pays homage to President Elect, Barack Obama. The first single, the title track and Afrika Bambaataa-influenced “Universal Mind Control” is #2 most added at urban radio this week (Source: R&R’s “Urban National Airplay” chart) and is featured in a Zune commercial that Common appears in alongside Bambaataa. The commercial appears on TV and online.
Early praise on Universal Mind Control includes reviews from outlets such as Rolling Stone who says UMC has “hyperspeed dance-floor jams spiced up with futuristic effects and deft lyrics,” while Entertainment Weekly states that Universal Mind Control is “packed with flashy synths and catchy hooks.”
Common has been a mainstay in the entertainment business for sixteen (16) years. He recently made the transition to film and has starred in five (5) major films with incredible stars including: Smokin’ Aces directed by Joe Carnahan starring Jeremy Piven and Ben Affleck and American Gangster directed by Ridley Scott starringRussell Crowe and Denzel Washington in 2007, Street Kings directed by David Ayer starring Forest Whitaker and Keanu Reeves and Wanted directed by Timur Bekmambetov starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman in 2008. In May of 2009 we will catch Common starring in Terminator Salvation directed by McG and also starring Christian Bale.
He has also written three children’s books—one having won a NAACP Award, has a youth empowerment foundation (The Common Ground Foundation –www.commongroundfoundation.org), and he has enjoyed being a part of commercial endorsement campaigns for Lincoln, Gap, Converse, and now Microsoft.
Along with all of that he’s even designed his own hat line (Soji), so you won’t be surprised to know that Common continues to push the boundaries with plans to launch a film production company soon. Common is currently on a promotional tour across the country promoting the upcoming release of Universal Mind Control.
Common knows what you’re thinking. After the crossover success of Be and Finding Forever, you expect the king of conscious hip-hop to serve you another set of introspective rhymes over raw soul tracks by Kanye West.
But Common hasn’t lasted 16 years in the notoriously fickle hip-hop game by avoiding risk. With seven albums, two Grammy’s, five major films, three children’s books, a youth empowerment foundation, a Gap commercial, and a designer hat line under his belt, this Renaissance Man is all about pushing boundaries—and winning while he’s at it.
Due out on December 9, Universal Mind Control is a powerful testament to Common’s fearlessness. Inspired by the 24-hour party scenes of Prague and Barcelona, the MC teamed up with The Neptunes and OutKast affiliate Mr. DJ to create a body rockin’ blend of hardcore hip-hop, retro electro, sinister funk and sticky sweet soul.
“I have long been an artist whose songs don’t get played at the parties. People would say they liked and respected my music but they wouldn’t celebrate to it,” explains the Chi-Town b-boy born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. “With Universal Mind Control, I’m commanding people to dance and get loose. The subject matter I address isn’t as serious. It’s just me flirting with women, saying little clever stuff, and talking about how I’m the gladiator of hip-hop. These are some of the most spontaneous, fun songs I’ve ever done.”
The rapper/actor finished recording Universal Mind Control after wrapping Street Kings, touring Europe and filming Terminator: Salvation opposite Christian Bale. The breakneck schedule, he says, feeds his artistry. “Having so many things to do makes music more fun because it frees me from overthinking. I don’t beat myself over the head because I don’t have all of my eggs in one basket.”
Universal Mind Control reflects Common’s newfound freedom where he was able to create a body of work that represents the future of hip hop. Highlights include the Afrika Bambaataa-inspired, Neptunes-produced title track, which was featured on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars; “Make My Day,” a breezy Mr. DJ production with Cee-Lo Green on the hook; “Punk Drunk Love,” a player’s anthem featuring Kanye West, and “Gladiator,” a Navigator rattler sure to satisfy hip-hop purists and critics alike.
In 2009, Common will launch a film production company, work on his fourth children’s book, and continue to inspire Chicago youth with his Common Ground Foundation. And of course he’ll honor the spirit of real hip-hop through his energetic live shows, innovative videos and his fresh new album.
“I’ve always been passionate about what I do, whether it’s rapping, acting, writing, break dancing, or whatever it is,” says Common. “I put my heart into Universal Mind Control, and I think it’ll reach audiences I’ve never touched before. This music has a progressive, international spirit to it, but it’s still very much hip-hop. It’ll take you to a new place, but it’s still Common.”
Universal Mind Control Tracklisting
1. Universal Mind Control
2. Punch Drunk Love [ft. Kanye West]
3. Make My Day [ft. Cee-Lo Green]
4. Sex 4 Sugar
5. Announcement [ft. Pharrell Williams]
9. What a World
"Universal Mind Control" by Common - release date: 12/9/08..