Common is hailed for lyricizing his commitment to social justice, and his new album certainly isn’t straying from that script. The rapper sat down with The Huffington Post to give us some insight into his latest work “Black America Again.”
The artist, actor and activist spoke with HuffPost’s Jacques Morel last week to talk about the album’s inspiration and the integral role unity plays in the progression of black communities.
The album’s title comes from the idea of a “new narrative” for black people, he said.
“We write our own story, black America again,” he said alluding to the title of the album which is scheduled to be released on Nov. 4.
While watching footage of the L.A. riots during “Straight Outta Compton,” Common drew parallels between the plights of past and present black America. The video for the album’s first single “Black America Again” highlights the collective exasperation the black community feels as a result of the numerous incidents of police brutality.
“I was looking at what’s been going on in our country,” he said. “And I was thinking ― with black people specifically ― and thinking how the history, our history has been that story of brutality of oppression and breaking up the black family. [There’s] really lack a of value for black life and that thought came to me.”
Common finds camaraderie crucial in times of healing; he illustrated the importance of connecting with one another by recalling the 2003 Northeast blackout.
“One of the most sad things I felt, was I didn’t know who my neighbor was. This was the first time I went over and spoke to my neighbor,” he said.
The rapper thinks that unity can start in the simplest of ways such as “knowing what your neighbor needs.” From there, community can develop.
“When we form that bond and that unity and that relationship, when things are not going right, we still have that community...I don’t want us to be just judging our own and not embracing our community,” he emphasized.
Watch the full conversation with Common below: