Throughout his 20-plus year career, Common has maintained his solo artist status but now, the Chicago rapper is teaming up with drummer-producer Karriem Riggins and pianist Robert Glasper to form the group August Greene.

With the trio's self-titled debut album set to release on March 9 via Amazon Music, August Greene drop off their first single, "Optimistic" featuring Brandy. Interpolating Sounds of Blackness' "Optimistic," Brandy handles the song's hook and first two verses before Common comes in near the end.

"Living in the moment, who's the opponent? I own it/Get it when I want it, composition of the golden/Enrolled in school of life, threw the dice through it like," Common raps. "Living in ambition on a mission impossible/Envision optimism through a prism that's optical/To see through obstacles and be remarkable."

While Common, Riggins and Glasper are now gearing up for their first album, the three actually came together in 2016 for the song "Letter to the Free," which was recorded for director Ava DuVernay's 13th documentary. The song went on to win the 2017 Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.

“August Greene actually formed before we chose a name, before we even knew it was a band,” said Common. "Karriem, Rob and I go back many years. It was something natural. When I started working with them it was like, ‘man, this feels like home,’ and it felt new and fresh. We love working together. The music takes us all to new places and it just feels like, everything I want to be as a musician is within the group of August Greene.”

Ahead of the March 9 release of their debut album, August Greene will make their live debut at New York City's Highline Ballroom on Jan. 26.

Listen to "Optimistic" below.

See New Music Releases for January 2018

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