The current racial and political climate of the United States is starting to remind us of the turbulent civil rights era — if not worse. That being the case, more and more artists are speaking out on the matter through their music. Unsurprisingly, Chi-Town rapper Common is one of those voices speaking up and he's doing so with his upcoming album Black America Again. You can look no further than the album's title track, which deals with the increasingly frustrating and out-of-control problem of police brutality, and its haunting video.
Common tapped some heavy hitters for the song — enlisting the production talents of Karriem Riggins and Robert Glasper (who also lent their talents to "Love Star"), Esperanza Spalding on bass, sampled ad-libs from Chuck D and MC Lyte and a sung outro from Stevie Wonder himself. Com gets heavy on the track, invoking the name of Trayvon Martin while speaking on the injustices blacks face on the daily. He also shouts out prominent African-Americans like Viola Davis, Ava Duvernay and Ta-Nehesi Coates over the piano-driven beat as boom-bap drums propel the track forward.
For the track's video, he pushes his message even further by starting with video footage from the shooting of Alton Sterling. After the sobering clip, which ends with a gunshot, we get archival footage mixed in with images of black people of all shades and walks of life up close and personal, some with a single tear falling from their eye. Com himself actually appears, though he never shows his entire face, instead letting the unknown faces draw in the viewer's attention while showcasing the humanity in each face. It's an arresting look at ordinary, everyday people, driving the point home that their lives matter just as much as anyone else's.
There's still no official release date for Black America Again, but we have a feeling that when it does arrive, it'll be something powerful. Stay tuned for more info about the album and check out the video for the title track below.