Here’s What You Need to Know About Common’s ‘Black America Again’ Album
Common is one of rap's greatest Renaissance men. Known to the rap world as one of Chicago's most poetic MCs, the 44-year-old spitter has managed to climb to the top of the game and become known by many more titles -- author, actor and activist among them
Born Lonnie Lynn Jr., Common broke into acting with the 2006 film Smokin' Aces. From there, he starred in a slew of big budget movies of all genres; everything from action (American Gangster and Wanted) to kid's flicks and romantic comedies (Happy Feet 2 and Just Wright). Common's face began to pop up in films so much that most growing up in the new millennium now associate him with the big screen more than the studio. However, in 2015, the rapper received one of his biggest honors to date on the music tip. He and John Legend were awarded Emmys and Academy Awards for the song "Glory" from the major motion picture Selma. By taking home such coveted hardware, Common joined the short list of rappers to have ever won Oscars.
But don't think he's gone Hollywood on the hip-hop world just yet. Common is still an MC at heart. His last album, 2014's Nobody's Smiling, was a battle cry on behalf of his hometown of Chicago. The message of the LP was received loud and clear, debuting at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and hailed by critics as one of Common's best projects in recent years. Now, with 2016 being election year, Common Sense is thinking bigger.
His return to music comes with the new song, "Black America Again," which he dropped in September followed by a powerful music video featuring Stevie Wonder. The bold track delivers reminders of how Black people are systemically disadvantaged. “The new plantation, mass incarceration/Instead of educate, they’d rather convict the kids," Common rhymes on the track.
To celebrate his new project, Common, Def Jam and ARTium Records held a private listening party on Thursday (Sept. 29) to preview his forthcoming album, also titled Black America Again. Tucked away on the second floor of a SoHo jewelry store on a rainy night, journalists, bloggers, music industry executives and more enjoyed champagne and hors d'oeuvres while the Windy City legend went track by track discussing his 11th studio album. Here's what you need to know.