Let me guess: The last couple of Common albums went gold, or platinum, or whatever they did, and the TIs at his label wanted him to return to the well for a third go-round. But there was just no way that was gonna happen this year.

Kanye West was busy embarking on a world tour to promote Graduation. And his mom died, and his girlfriend left him. And he's got his own followup to Graduation to work on, as well as the new Jay-Z album.

Even if Kanye did slide Common some beats for Invincible Summer, there's no guarantee they wouldn't have been hot garbage. You've heard "Love Lockdown," and "Jockin' Jay-Z," and "Swagger Like Us."

The reason I bring this up is because I see Common's label has picked today as the day to begin their promotional push for Universal Mind Contol, as the new Common album's gonna be called, and you get the idea they're just making the best of a bad situation.

Just now, I see there's a new video out, for the album's title track, and that it's been made the Jam of the Week on MTV, even though they don't really play videos like that. I guess it'll get played more often on MTV, if you live somewhere that gets MTV Jams. (I don't.)

The video for "Universal Mind Control" is not unlike the video Common did for "Announcement" a few weeks ago, in that obviously the main goal in creating it was not to spend very much money on it. It's like one of those Rik Cordero videos, except with a few cheesy special effects added on.

Whereas the video for "Announcement" featured those line drawings on which Common would stand on top of and rap, the video for "Universal Mind Control" features shitty cgi animation and dancing robots. But I guess they couldn't get Pharrell to spend the 15 minutes it would have taken for him to appear in this latest video, like he did that first one.

How sad.

Also, I see they've got Common listed in the headline of this week's Mixtape Monday over at MTV News. But since the fact that Common's got a new video coming out and an album coming out soon wouldn't have been newsworthy enough to warrant its own Mixtape Monday, the headline actually has to do with something Common said about the new Kanye West album. Roffle.

Supposedly, Kanye West is singing all over 808s and Heartbreak, and Common actually went so far as to compare the album to his own Electric Circus.


"I love it," Common said of West's upcoming project. "Let me tell you, as an artist, you wanna be free. You gotta do what you feel. You can't just cater to the audience. You gotta say, 'Hey, y'all, this is where I'm at.' For him to do an album called 808s and Heartbreak, you know that's where he is at this moment. I heard some songs, and I think it's fresh. I think the people are ready for it."

I can't imagine this will inspire confidence for those of you who were hoping all of 808s and Heartbreak wouldn't be like "Love Lockdown." But I guess we'll see. For what it's worth, I'd rather listen to Electric Circus than Finding Forever. But I'd rather listen to Resurrection than either of them. I'm close minded like that.

And then Common goes on to say that, while he didn't bother putting as much thought into his new album, he doesn't think his career as an actor is taking away from his career as a rapper. No really.

To wit:

Common's own album Universal Mind Control drops in November.

"Last couple of albums, I felt a little more free," he said of the evolution in his songwriting. "I just wrote whatever comes to me. [In the past], I would overthink things. I'd be like, 'OK, I did a song for the ladies, so I shouldn't do that again.' I was at a point where I was like, 'Man, I want to make people move and enjoy the music.' "

Although Common's been busy working on the next "Terminator" film and had to push back the release of his album, he doesn't think fans will color him neglectful.

"I'm not concerned with it," he said. "I feel I've established who I am as a hip-hop artist. I think people respect that people are multitasking. If you're doing both passionately and do them well, people can respect them. I'mma do my best at that. I'mma create my music. Overall, I feel that both [my professions] sharpen each other." ...

It doesn't even sound like he's convinced himself this is a good idea.

Couple that with the fact that he actually brags about shilling for the Lincoln Navigator in "Announcement," and I'm really hard-pressed to defend this clown, even though I don't find either of the singles as bad as they are kinda half-assed. The best I can think is that maybe he didn't that much of a say in the matter. He's too successful now to be much of an artist.