Find warmth and inspiration with Common’s new album “A Beautiful Revolution (Part.1)”

In the intense climate of US presidential election, many voices were heard, expressing how crucial this election was. Seeing Common among those voices was no surprise. Indeed, activism is a path that the legendary MC has fully embraced for many years now.

Upon the election, he launched a voting initiative called U2020 and met now newly elected vice-president Kamala Harris.

In this intense and painful year, he comes back with music for the movement through « A Beautiful Revolution (Part 1) ».

Common stated that his approach was to uplift and inspire as there are still things to strive for especially in terms of justice and equality.

That intention transpires from the very first words pronounced by Jessica CARE Moore : « Ain’t it beautiful when we smile it’s a musical, an act of revolution and the stage is a human one ».

Poet & activist Jessica Care Moore

The Detroit poet and activist’s poem serves as a powerful introduction and indicates the love, the pride and the hurt that drove the album’s creation.

This feeling is extented through the first song « Fallin », in which we find Common asserting :

« We hunting for jobs, being hunted by squads/ It’s a small world, we want it at large/ America’s most neglected and arrested/ That’s why your vaccine, I gotta second guess it/ We don’t know what you’re shooting Black Kings and Black Queens ».

Great music with substance has always been Common’s approach. Knowing that, we should not forget that while he’s giving us the message, it is still about MCing as well and what better way to go at it than to trade bars with Black Thought.

24 years after « Universe At War » – their first collaboration on 1996’s The Roots album, Illadelph Halflife – the chicagoan and the MC from The Roots « Say Peace », rhyming about their quest for it.

Common’s musical journey is marked by intense collaboration with producers and musicians.

From the first years with NO I.D, to the experimentation with J Dilla and the beginning of G.O.O.D Music with Kanye West, each producers represented a phase of his life and artistic development.

This time, he further explored live instrumentations with fellow August Greene members Karriem Riggins and Robert Glasper but also Burniss Travis and Isaiah Sharkey.

This whole collective welcomed a new member in Paris Jones. The L.A singer-songwriter shines all over the album, just like Common she is the tone.

Together, the MC and the singer bring a much necessary warmth, notably on « Courageous » and « Don’t Forget Who You Are ».

On a project dominated by soulful and soothing musicality, Common takes a on tougher direction on the self-explanatory « A Riot In My Mind ».

His dynamic performance is supported by Lenny Kravitz, who nails it with the chorus : « It’s a war outside / When it’s quiet it’s a riot on my mind ». The rock/pop richness of the track reminds us of the sonorities that marked Common’s album from 2002, Electric Circus.

A well-known element in Common’s discography are his outros. From 94’s Resurrection to 2011’s The Dreamer, The Believer, Common’s father, the late Lonnie Lynn Jr, would assure the outros, expressing himself through spoken word poetry.

« Pop’s Rap » would be witty, full of wisdom and moving. This is the first time since his father’s passing that Common goes back to a free of form outro, letting a mosaic of people give their definition of « A Beautiful Revolution ». The words expressed, poetic and optimistic, feel as though Mr.Lynn Jr was around.

Heartfelt, inspirational and uplifting « A Beautiful Revolution » documents, through togetherness and love, a movement, an era, a world that’s changing before our eyes.

Alfred Dilou

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