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Common Sheds More Light On Chicago With ‘Nobody’s Smiling’

“A black figure...in the middle with chaos and gunfire…the beast is runnin' rampant.” Those are words Common rapped on “Chi-City,” a song off his 2005 album Be. That album, now considered by some to be one of the few hip-hop classics of the 2000s (XXL gave it its highest rating), was a detailed account of life on the city’s South Side, where Com grew up. When you listen to it, you can’t help but envision yourself riding in a “Olds with windows that don’t roll” through one of the area’s battered neighborhoods, watching OGs tell tales on the corner over barrels ...

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