Common is unequivocally a vocal rapper, once known widely as an artist who epitomised the voice of a ‘conscious rapper’, over the years he’s evolved into a cultural icon over 10 albums and numerous film roles. It would be impossible during one of the most charged periods in American history, not to expect to hear Common’s contribution within this new wave of ‘protest music’.
Black music in all it’s variants over the decades has kept protest at it’s core unlike the claims of some mainstream journalists who bemoaned a lack of ‘protest’ in music earlier this year. Winning an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe for his 2015 song ‘Glory’ with John Legend for Ava Duvernay’s film ‘Selma’, Common returns ahead of his new album ‘Black America Again’ with the end-title track for Duvernay’s powerful documentary film ’13th’. Closing the film with Common’s ‘Letter To The Free’, Duvernay’s recently premiered Netflix documentary focuses on the historic legacy of the ’13th’ amendment’ which led to mass incarceration in America.
The first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe and Oscar for Selma, and recently the creator of OWN network’s ‘Queen Sugar’, Ava DuVernay’s ’13th’, documentary film is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Theoretically written to outlaw slavery, the 13th Amendment also paved the way for systematic justice reforms creating loopholes for the disproportionate institutional enslavement of Black Americans through mass incarceration.
‘BLACK AMERICA AGAIN’, marks the 11th full length album for Common and his follow up to the 2014 album ‘Nobody’s Smiling’, which notably saw a return to form with his long time collaborator and producer extraodinaire No I.D..
Due November 4th the album also includes the explosive title song ‘Black America Again’ featuring Stevie Wonder. “‘Black America Again’” Common says, “is centered in the injustices that black people have experienced and endured since we arrived on the shores of America. ‘Black America Again’ is a call to action. It is a song about black love, black strength, black justice, black resistance, black resilience, black empowerment, and black people.”
‘Letter To The Free’ has already been nominated for a 2016 Critics’ Choice Documentary Award for “Best Song in a Documentary.” ‘BLACK AMERICA AGAIN’ includes the Marsha Ambrosius featured ‘Love Star’ alongside the title single with Stevie Wonder (listen above) and the newly released ‘Letter to the Free’ below;
Common’s ‘BLACK AMERICA AGAIN’ the album features guest appearances from John Legend, Bilal, BJ the Chicago Kid, Syd amongst others, and is available to pre-order:
1. “Joy and Peace” (Feat. Bilal)
2. “Home” (Feat. Bilal)
3. “Word From Moe Luv Interlude”
4. “Black America Again” (Feat. Stevie Wonder)
5. “Love Star” (Feat. Marsha Ambrosius & PJ)
6. “On a Whim Interlude”
7. “Red Wine” (Feat. Syd & Elena)
9. “A Moment in the Sun Interlude”
10. “Unfamiliar” (Feat. PJ)
11. “A Bigger Picture Called Free” (Feat. Syd & Bilal)
12. “The Day Women Took Over” (Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid)
13. “Rain” (Feat. John Legend)
14. “Little Chicago Boy” (Feat. Tasha Cobbs)
15. “Letter to the Free” (Feat. Bilal)