I know that we live in an era of trap rap, cap rap and no one has time to listen to substance rap but if you thought J Cole’s latest snippets were gold then I got the perfect album for you to listen to. Common is not the rapper that drops every year but when he does drop, its always timely. The Chicago veteran could not have been more on time with his new album, Black America Again. If you know me, then you know that Common is easily on my top ten Hip Hop Artists list. Albums like this is the reason he may not be popular to radio but absolutely real to hip hop heads. He is a God in this game and lyrically his content is full of substance. For my fellow African American brothers and sisters, This CD is a shot of adrenalin and melanin directly into our veins. It dissects the injustices and marginalization against us as black people by showing us the we as a people have a certain light within us that allows us to overcome and make something of nothing in any situation. This album shines light on the privilege and excellence it is to be black. Celebrating your essence and your heritage. With this passing election and how it has effected us all, this CD helps me heal the wounds. Common has been musically and physically on the front line fighting for us as black people creatively for a long time. The least we can do is support a brotha who supports us.

One of my favorite songs on the album, is the called The Day Women Took Over. Obviously it was a battle cry for Hillary Clinton possibly taking office. We all know she fell short but this song is an empowerment to women. It highlights those who have made strides not just as black women, but for strong woman period. This song is a setting of a day were women hold the power to the free world and how things would change for the better. Women who are mothers are put on a higher pedestal, less wars, no more negative depictions of women on shows. Bye bye Love and Hip Hop, less Cardi B, and more Assata Shakur. Maya Angelou been praised in the same light as a Tupac or Biggie. More love songs, more love period. Daughters having fathers in their lives. Toilet seats up… Ok that one is a stretch. But women equality is the norm in this society. I do not know about you but I love the idea.

Little Chicago Boy, is where he describes his life from a young boy growing into a man. A man that he looked up to more than anything was his father, Lonnie Lynn. Common is actually a junior and revers his dad very highly. If you are a fan of Common’s music like I am, you know that most of his CDs have at least one song with his father at the end giving him and us a message about life. Common often mentions his father and upbringing, and how his teachings impacted him and their spiritual relationship. His father recently passed away after losing his fight with cancer. Because of his pop’s death, this album was the first time that he could not have his father’s voice on his record. He made this song in homage of his hero, his dad. Who was the last person to actually make a song paying respect to their father? You don’t hear things like that nowadays.

Of course I must cover the song title of the album Black America Again. The first line is a punch to the gut honestly. “Trayvon will never get to be an older man.” It speaks of the realness of the injustice that we are facing today. Especially for our kids and young adults, who are often victims now more than ever. Common frequently reminds us of our history in this country by urging us not to forget our painful past. Then he speeds the clock forward to present day, by suggesting that our mentalities are still enslaved by ignorance and poverty. I know that Black Lives Matter, and they matter to US. The system of miseducation and mass incarceration breaking up families causing this unhealthy cycle to continue. This song speaks truth and breathes life into a cause for us to fight for us. Not with each other.

Common speaks on love for a woman, as oppose to hearing the words b****, thot, hoe, etc. You hear something like, Love Star. Once again upholding our Queens. Songs like, Letter to the Free,  speakS on the mass incarceration of black people in our country. Showing us that what we are dealing with is real. Our struggle and pain needs to be heard by not just us, but by others so that they know and understand the REAL. This CD is to bring us as a people closer together through artistic expression. People like John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Marsha Ambrosius (Love her), BJ the Chicago Kid (Get hip) are artists that does the same. Soulful sounds that make you feel good, make you feel proud. Something you can fight, love, or dream to. I urge you to give this album a listen, its a form of musical education. It feeds your melanin and magnifies your black excellence.


~Gene Stamper

Have you heard the album? What are your thoughts?


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