Black America Again

Black America Again

by Common



Thematically and structurally, "Black America Again" distills the essence of its parent release like few other pre-album singles. Filled with love, grief, and rage, Common traces institutionalized racism back to Christopher Columbus and covers many of the after effects, from slavery to police shootings, from housing projects to gentrification. Karriem Riggins, the veteran multi-instrumentalist and producer who contributed to Common's 1997-2007 run, potently layers live instrumentation -- Robert Glasper's leading piano, Esperanza Spalding's melodic bass, J-Rocc's percussive scratches -- with an array of samples that includes a propelling breakbeat and an empowering James Brown monologue. Real-life Stevie Wonder arrives toward the end with a proud affirmation of his own. The product of a fully unified super session, this album was produced entirely by Riggins, assisted by Glasper on two other cuts. Common operates at full power. He rarely sounds as if he's merely filling space with his words, rhyming with purpose about spiritual and physical sustenance, reflecting upon his upbringing, lamenting recent tragedies, and fantasizing about a peaceful future in which the world is run by women. He often targets mass incarceration, delivering one of his most moving narratives in "A Bigger Picture Called Free." It's easy to overlook the rapper's remarkable rhythmic aptitude in understated lines like "My pops -- y'all built and destroyed him with prescriptions of poverty, dope, and unemployment." Some love songs, highlighted by the sweetly bobbing "Love Star," wouldn't lose much with Common removed from them, but they -- along with spiritualized opener "Joy and Peace" -- effectively break from all the grim matter. The basic track list provides no indication that this is the most collaborative Common album since Electric Circus. Most of the vocalists formally linked to the track titles -- Bilal, Tasha Cobbs, Syd, BJ the Chicago Kid, and PJ among them -- are utilized more like an ensemble throughout. Glasper and J-Rocc are among the frequently heard instrumentalists, while keyboardist James Poyser, bassist Robert Hurst, and trumpeters Theo Croker and Roy Hargrove make appearances. And then there's Riggins on drums, bass, and the application of a Dilla-like sample scope -- obscure library recordings, Gentle Giant, Ol' Dirty Bastard, the works. All that's here, dark or bright, is vital.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/04/2016
Label: Def Jam
UPC: 0602557124293
catalogNumber: 002573902

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Common   Primary Artist
MC Lyte   Background Vocals
David Grant   Vocals
Roy Hargrove   Trumpet
Chuck D   Background Vocals
Joel Derouin   Concert Master
James Poyser   Organ
Patrick Warren   Strings,Conductor,Keyboards
Karriem Riggins   Bass,Drums
J-Rocc   scratching,DJ
Bilal   Vocals
Esperanza Spalding   Bass
Marsha Ambrosius   Background Vocals
Robert Glasper   Piano,Keyboards,Mellotron
Elena   Flute,Vocals
Theo Croker   Trumpet
Beatriz Artola   Horn Engineer
Moe Luv   Vocals
Burniss Travis   Bass
Lynetria "Fresh" Johnson   Vocals
Robert Leslie   Upright Bass

Technical Credits

James Brown   Composer
Willie Mitchell   Composer
Michael Law   Engineer
Mark Blumberg   Composer
Kenny Clarke   Composer
George Clinton   Composer
Vladimir Cosma   Composer
James Mtume   Composer
Manny Marroquin   Engineer
Kerry Minnear   Composer
Jake Riley   Composer
Sylvia Robinson   Composer
Hank Shocklee   Composer
Derek Shulman   Composer
R. Shulman   Composer
Patrick Warren   String Arrangements
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Eric Sadler   Composer
Carlton Ridenhour   Composer
Harry Ray   Composer
Shari Sutcliffe   String Contractor
Common   Executive Producer
Karriem Riggins   Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer
Marsha Ambrosius   Composer
Robert Glasper   Composer,Producer
Bilal Oliver   Composer
Russell Jones   Composer
Lonnie Lynn   Composer
Maimouna Youssef   Composer
Bryan Sledge   Composer
Beatriz Artola   Engineer,Vocal Engineer,Trumpet Arrangement,Flute Arrangement
Emmanuel Riggins   Composer
Dion Wilson   Executive Producer
Samora Pinderhughes   Composer
Syd Bennett   Composer
Rita Greene   Composer
Willie Goodman   Composer
Adam Feeney   Composer
Michael Law Thomas   Engineer
Paris Jones   Composer
Derrick Harris   Composer
John Cameron   Composer
Tanisha Riggins   Composer
Edgar Cosma   Composer
Minister Louis Farrakhan   Composer
Tasha Cobbs Leonard   Composer

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