THE S/T SCOOP: Common Holds Private ‘Invincible Summer’ Listening Session

In Studio A of Manhattan’s Legacy Studios, Common gave self-titled and a couple other choice publications an eight-song preview of his new album, Invincible Summer, which he says will be released in mid-July. Believe it or not, the record–partially inspired by the months the rapper spent in Prague while acting in the upcoming film Wanted–is tailor-made for clubs.

Here are our scattered, unedited notes from the session …


  • “I just caught the spirit two months ago and started working.”
  • Justice League movie delayed
  • The Neptunes and Mr. DJ produced
  • ten songs in total
  • inspired by a quote from his friend: “In the depths of winter, you gotta find an invincible summer.”
  • “I mean, who is the No. 1 MC? What is there to prove at this point? I just wanna make music that feels good.”
  • “I want kids to be able to rock to some of my stuff, too.”

“Universal Mind Control”

  • high energy, busy, uptempo
  • “Clear” synths and distorted bass hits
  • bongo background
  • “Planet Rock ’08”
  • Neptunes
  • probably the lead single
  • Common’s contribution to music in the club.
  • Says Common on why he’s turned to club songs, “My DJ would never play any of my records. And he’s my DJ.” “It would be nice to see people dancing to my music.”

“Make My Day”

  • Produced by Mr. DJ
  • Featuring Cee-Lo, multitracked vocals
  • staggers forward, shuffled beat, sounds Gnarls-y
  • da-da-da-da-da piano chords
  • upbeat, cheerful
  • “This is a good day.”

“Punch Love”

  • slower, sex jam
  • 1-2-3-4-5 rimshots
  • “Does it keep you up at night / ‘cause you can feel it right.”
  • “You can call me daddy cuz I be puttin’ you to bed.”
  • ode to his stamina
  • pinched kazoos
  • recorded at Electric Lady Studios

“What a World”

  • Neptunes
  • tin-can rattle percussion
  • sharp ’80s synths
  • ’80s, Blondie, Sugar Hill Gang flow
  • high energy
  • tale of a boy to a star
  • featuring Chester French
  • rock and disco bass
  • talking in third person, autobiographical
  • best of the bunch


  • Mr. DJ
  • cheery, bright, open
  • shimmering production
  • “I know a change gon’ come.”
  • whistling
  • vocals by Muhsinah and Jeff B
  • Says Common, “If Obama was getting inaugurated, you could play this song. It’s a hopeful thing.”

“Sex For Sugar”

  • not yet finished
  • Neptunes
  • sinister bass synths
  • says Common, “Silly”
  • scattered snare percussion
  • sounds like live drums
  • “Girl you’ve been touched by the force of nature / I’m just tryin’ to motivate ya.”
  • talking to a stripper
  • dance floor oriented
  • fun more than anything


  • Mr. DJ
  • building tension w/ stuttered bass hits
  • electronic blips and blops in the background, cascading, bubbling
  • stuttered, broken flow
  • ’80s synth mashing, extended synth solo
  • Jeff B singing


  • not yet finished
  • will eventually feature Santogold
  • only heard a snippet
  • hard driving
  • long, sustained synths
  • drum&bass, E-out
  • Mr. DJ
  • can’t wait to hear this finished. The beat is sick.