Common - Black America Again: a furious, righteous, powerful return to form

Thu, Nov 3, 2016, 12:44


Black America Again


Def Jam

Hip-Hop & Rap

The current wave of black American activism has energised many musicians of late and it will come as no surprise to anyone that Common’s 11th album comes tinted and shaded with references to the stories and events of the past few years.

The title track, for instance, has the Chicago veteran (in the venerable company of Stevie Wonder) fired up about slavery, Trayvon Martin, imprisonment and the Black Lives Matter movement. Inspired by Kendrick Lamar’s recent work, author Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Hamilton musical, Common’s anger is palatable throughout the record as he dices and disects the issues on this agenda.

However, this fury doesn’t get in the way of the righteous, powerful, thought-provoking way he pulls tracks together with the help of collaborators such as Bilal, John Legend, Syd from The Internet and more.

Producer Karriem Riggins provides a fascinating throughline for the record, as Common ducks and dives within the lines to build a strong, compelling narrative.