Black America Again - Album Review
The Chi Town MC Common brings us a sophisticated reflection of the racial and societal issues that Black Americans are facing with his 11th studio album: Black America Again. You might be wondering why he added the " Again " to the title, we here at Resistance Ink believe its Common's way of challenging the Black Community to unify and rise to meet the societal challenges of today in a manner similar to that of the Civil Rights Movement. This album is loaded with historical monologues further emphasizing Common's message of reflection, community, uplift, activism, and love. Common has always exhibited the "ideals" of Hip Hop rather than the more popular misogynistic and material take on Hip Hop. This album is no different. Here you have an established recording artist talking about what matters to HIM. He doesn't compromise himself or his message to please the masses.
Largely produced by Karriem Riggins, the production style of this album can be described as Neo Soul meets the Old Kanye meets Boom Bap executed with the nuanced refinements of a project released in 2016. Common's albums have never been lacking in the lyricism department but his concepts stand out the most in this album. To name a few, In The Day Women Took Over (Feat. BJ the Chicago Kid), he illustrates a compelling world where women have taken over, leading to a more gracious and peaceful world. A world of less conflict, equal pay for men and women, shattered glass ceilings and toilet seats being left down. In Letter To the Free, he drops jewels on countless black social issues; most notably mass-incarceration. This track is featured at the end of Netfix's 13th Amendment.
Black America Again features a 22 minute companion video mirroring Commons views of Black America. Filled with historical symbolism and silent video portraits of Black Americans paying homage to their communities, history and culture. These are much needed visuals from a Hip Hop perspective where Black People are often dehumanized by materialism, drug use, conflict, and poverty. The short film made a strong case for the more mature and serious side of Hip Hop that promotes the need for activism and social awareness . It was a beautifully shot short film. While It was a different experience from the album as a whole, it definitely complements the project.
"This is porn for the urban intellectual"
In closing, this is a sophisticated album of art, poetry, and vocal performance. This is porn for the urban intellectual. Unfortunately it is going to go over the heads of the masses. Exemplified by the 2016 Elections, 50% of Americans acknowledge the social issues facing Black America but they don't care enough to prioritize them. We don't live in a society motivated by a sense of social responsibility. We seem to be more enthralled with what's entertaining rather than a meaningful message. Sadly this album will be written off by most... But then again, maybe that's ok... Black America Again isn't for everyone and that's what makes it special. If you are a fan of Commons work, you will not be disappointed. For more on Common, keep this tab open and press refresh every now and then. Brought to you by the good folks over at Resistance Ink.
There was a point in where I was transported to a relaxed dream state of of nostalgia. Red Wine (Feat. Syd & Elena) was that moment. Amazing voices... beautifully written.
Letter To the Free made me watch the 13th Amendment on Netflix.
Rain (feat. John Legend) was a moment on the album. I want more collaborations between these artist.
The Day Women Took Over - Classic Common feel good Hip Hop with and interesting concept.