After a few short weeks of promo, Common releases his new LP Black America Again to retail. The album is his 11th studio release and it could be one of his more important projects not just because of the number but in how he seeks to be a voice for generations and the black community. Building off the momentum of “Glory,” his awarding-winning song with John Legend, Com finds himself thrust to the forefront for a role he’s been prepping for since the “Resurrection” days. Whereas back then he was speaking more for Chicago, the 44-year-old is now in a place where he can represent a much wider group of people.
In fact, part of his expansion is owed to his work in film. His work with Selma, both as a musician and actor, opened him up a new set of admirers and resources. Those resources helped create his brand new short film for the album “Black America Again.” Produced by Ava DuVernay of recent 13th acclaim and directed by Bradford Young, director and cinematographer for the film Selma. The moving piece shows the many different faces of the black community, some in still moments while others highlight the different forms of music and performance art that help make up our country’s fabric.
Then, there’s Common, standing in the middle of desolate intersection, with another brother playing a hand drum as he spits the impassioned verses from the song. For anyone who hasn’t listened to the track yet, it’s a chance to hear his every word in stripped down form so his message is received clearly. The scenes with him rapping capture the essence of not only rap but part of the history of black music, back to a time when all people had was a drum and a voice. Generations later, Common, DuVernay and Young’s visual serves as a reminder of how important of an instrument that voice is. Let’s hope more artists take heed.
Below, take a listen to the full album which includes the title track as well as the previously released songs “Pyramids,” “Red Wine” and more as well as features from Legend, Bilal, Syd of The Internet, BJ The Chicago Kid and more.