Black America Again

The Album That Best Describes Black Lives Matter

Quinton Prunty, Cactus Writer

On Friday November 4th, rapper, activist and actor Common (Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.) released his 11th studio album Black America Again. Common is one of the most influential hip-hop artists within the last two decades, and this album proves to be more than just music. Politically charged and masterfully composed, Black America Again discusses topics that closely relate to the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, which follows with equality of African-American people, women, transgender and homosexual people, justice and empathy for African-American’s who suffered at the hands of police brutality, celebrating African-American culture and displaying pride in our heritage.

Black America Again delivers a powerful, heartwarming, emotional and true testimony to the Black community. With inspiration from gospel music and previous albums before, Common’s first track’s “Joy and Peace” and “Home” starts the album off with a head-nodding, traditional boom-bap sound that Hip-Hop seems to be lacking in today’s music. With the rise of Trap music and Rap, Hip-Hop is becoming all but a lost tradition that many artists were brought up on.

The album then takes a turn for the political, with the track named after the album “Black America Again”. The song starts right off the bat acknowledging that Trayvon Martin, a young African-American, aged just 17, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February 2012, will never have the opportunity to gow older. Common goes into further explanation stating that the lives of black children are being stolen, black mother’s are more worried than ever, and that the black community, despite all the tragedy and pain, continues to disregard the issue and often end up killing each other.

Common states that we need more African-American leaders such as Corey Booker, Ava Duvernay, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. This poetic work of art describes the the history of African-American discrimination, and is meant to be an inspiration to rewrite the Black American story as one not of struggle and sorrow, but as heroic and proud.

Jumping ahead to “The Day Women Took Over”, this song is filled with love, joy and prosperity as it describes the possibility of unity and peace if women ruled the world; envisioning that major feminine figures such as Maya Angelo, Michelle Obama and Beyonce’ would be the new leaders of the world. This romantic, and inspirational song gives us the scenario of how much more affectionate, beneficial and ideal the world would be if women were recognized as true equals in the eyes of men. The song lists that chivalry would be reintroduced to society, people would be more kind to one another, families would be closer, and that women would be respected at the highest honor, as they should be. Common, advocating for women’s rights brings out a different side in all of us, as it motivates us to treat women better and acknowledge them as queens and goddesses.

Finally, the last song “Letter to the Free”, a compelling song influenced by traditional hymns, ends the album with the statement that one day, despite the adversity the African-American community has suffered, Black Americans will see true freedom. Following similarly from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, Common continues to discuss the important issue of Black people facing prejudice and injustice by our own system of government through beautifully composed music featuring iconic music stars such as Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and Bilal. He believes we need change, and that not only African-American people need to rise up, but so does the rest of America. Social injustice, inequality and subliminal racism must end, and it all starts with listening to this album. Black America Again is available for purchase and is featured on Spotify.}