[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/12/09/common.universal.mind.control/art.common1.jpg caption="Common says he was looking for a new sound on his eighth album, "Universal Mind Control.""]
By Eliott C. McLaughlin
The rapper Common wants to take hip-hop in a new direction, he says, and he has an unsuspecting ally - President-elect Barack Obama.
Obama "is going to change hip-hop for the better," predicted the rapper, whose eighth album, "Universal Mind Control" (G.O.O.D. Music/Geffen), hits shelves Tuesday.
"I really do believe we as hip-hop artists pick up what's going on in the world and try to reflect that," he told CNN, outlining his belief that mainstream as well as so-called "conscious" rappers - the more socially aware - will pick up on what he sees as the more optimistic prospects of an Obama presidency.
"I think hip-hop artists will have no choice but to talk about different things and more positive things, and try to bring a brighter side to that because, even before Barack, I think people had been tired of hearing the same thing," he said.
Likewise, "Universal Mind Control," with its hook-heavy, synthed-out tracks, represents a "broadening" of hip-hop's audience - one that demands evolution rather than hackneyed revamps of old beats, rhythms and rhymes, Common said.
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