Common releases Kingdom: Hear the Chicago rapper's latest track from album Nobody Smiling.

Common's New Song Is a Haunting Meditation on Religion and Violence in Chicago

Common's New Song Is a Haunting Meditation on Religion and Violence in Chicago

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
May 31 2014 8:49 PM

Common's New Song Is a Haunting Meditation on Religion and Violence in Chicago

commonrap
Common.

© Warner Bros

It's been 20 years since the release of "I Used to Love H.E.R.," the classic hip-hop parable that affirmed Common's reputation as one of the most nuanced, socially-conscious rappers in the industry. But after two decades, the rapper's work still has that incisive, intellectual edge: "Kingdom," his latest song, is a profound exploration of religion and violence in Chicago.

It's not a new theme: Common is from the Windy City, and much of his discography focuses on the city's racial politics and cultural identity. "Kingdom" is a worthy addition to that back catalog. The cut is off his forthcoming album, Nobody Smiling.

Sharan Shetty is on the editorial staff of the New Yorker. You can follow him on Twitter