For the first single from his upcoming album, Common lays on the choral influences, giving his new song an otherworldly feel.
“Kingdom,” the rapper’s new song from the in-progress Nobody’s Smiling, makes a simple request: “Help me get, get the keys to the kingdom,” a choir sings amid rhymes from Common and guest rapper Vince Staples.
If the intro and chorus seem to follow some sort of divine path, it’s no coincidence; Comm0n’s raps include no shortage of Biblical allusions as he fiercely talks hometown Chicago and its problem with violence. At first, he details a friend’s funeral he attended, “listening to this church song.”
“His family yelling and screaming, I hurt for ’em / A cold world, that’s why we pack heaters,” he spits. “Listening to this preacher as he’s tryna reach us.”
Common continually references “keys,” much like the chorus of the tune. “Thought these was the keys for me to roll a Benz,” he laments after appearing to have killed a man. “They ended up being the keys for my life to end.”