Few artists’ creative responses to the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests were ever going to feel more vital than Common’s; his track record of using his music to speak to issues of racial and societal division is one that stretches to nearly three decades, which is why last October’s ‘A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 1’ (an EP or mini-album, depending on who you ask) was so timely. Released just four days before the US presidential election, it was a fists-in-the-air rallying cry, one that featured heavyweight, politically astute collaborators like Stevie Wonder and Chuck D.
If ‘…Pt. 1’ felt like a look at the progress we made last year, then this follow-up stares down the road ahead - not with trepidation, but with boundless optimism. This is true both of the new cast of featured artists, one representative of a new generation of conscious musicians, and of the infectiously upbeat nature of these songs, as Common channels the positivity that last year’s summer of engagement imbued him with into eleven tracks that sonically take their cues from ‘90s hip hop and R&B. Among the standouts are the Brittany Howard hook-up ‘Saving Grace’, which invokes the spirit of D’Angelo and Lauryn Hill, and lead single ‘Imagine’, on which Common paints a picture of his own personal utopia over a beat that recalls J Dilla. ‘A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2’ is a sweet paean to music’s mood-boosting properties, as well as it capacity to effect meaningful change.
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Across a 30 year career, Common has established himself as a creative and political force to be reckoned with. On ‘A Beautiful Revolution (Pt. 2)’ he’s pooling it all together and seeking change.
It comes ahead of the release of his new album this Friday.
Our newest print edition - out now! - also features The Killers, Common, The Vaccines, NAO and loads more.
Lifted from his forthcoming new album ‘A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2’.