Lonnie Rashid Lynn known by his stage name as Common has been famous in the underground hip hop scene, ever since he began his career in the 90s. It wasn’t until his release of “The 6th Sense” with DJ Premier in 2000 that he switched over to talk about injustice through his music. Grammy and Oscar winner, activist, visionary, and of late, a writer with a New York Times Bestseller called Let Love Have The Last Word, Common has had a well-accomplished career leading and inspiring people to create change. He has been associated with several acts like John Legend, Kanye West, will.i.am, the Soulquarians, PJ, The Neptunes among others. In a scene where most rappers would rather talk about vanity, Common takes a mature path, goes deeper, and chooses what really matters, urging his fellow Black people to carry on the revolution.
A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 1 was created at a time during Trump’s presidency when tragic and atrocious crimes like that of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor among so many more were committed. The album stemmed from feelings like anger, hurt, and angst but he believes that the next step does not involve these emotions and that one must continue in love. Love for God, love for oneself and fellow brothers.
Common starts his day with prayer and reading the New Testament of the Bible and incorporates the values he learns into his life which is reflected in the music he makes and the projects he intentionally undertakes.
In an interview with The Breakfast Club recently, Common talked about how he uses his platform and position to speak up and shed light on issues that taint American society and the world at large. He firmly believes, and rightly so that the more you talk about something and highlight it the more awareness is created and people can be held responsible and made accountable as a community. The Black community still faces injustice even in the 21st century and one can only overcome it through resilience and that is what Common conveys in his album. The tone for its sequel, A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2 is, therefore, self-reflective, filled with love, and is far from being preachy. Musically, it reached heights and went into different places and genres mainly that of blues, soul, and RnB, portraying the style of a variety of influential Black artists.
Credit: Twitter @common
The first track, “Intro Push Out The Noise” featuring Jessica Care Moore, is a poem that sets the tone for the entire album with the following lines capturing its essence. “On our back porch patios re-learning the subtle art of breathing Our tribes, our well-traveled scars” “Learning really begins at home now” “What is more radical than authentic love”
“What is more radical than authentic love”
The second track, “A Beautiful Chicago Kid” has a groovy and bluesy beat, performed in collaboration with PJ who owns her stunningly smooth voice and affirms her achievements, thereby collectively that of the Black people.
“When We Move” featuring Sean Keuti and Black Thought of The Roots comes with Afrocentric drumbeats and a rhythm that loops on in the background throughout the entire track and ends in typical Blues style trumpet bars and talks about how the whole world follows when Black people “move”, or showcase their creative talent, but that the experiences that they’ve been through to get to where they are at, nobody who isn’t of the community could remotely even imagine with a line that goes like, “Who dey feel a pain like we do”.
“Poetry” featuring Marcus King and Isaiah Shakey, starts off with a country-like guitar rhythm and talks about enduring through the struggle Black people still go through even in present-day America. “I combine strength, poetic liberation In a nation that asks me for identification”
“I combine strength, poetic liberation
In a nation that asks me for identification”
“Saving Grace” featuring Brittany Howard begins with a soulful tune that’s almost melancholic and transports you into a pensive mood especially with words like these in verse two, “Holding back the pain of my ancestry Trying to break the patterns of our history” but she carries on to say in the chorus, “In your grace, I made peace You’ve got will, I’ve got power”
"Imagine" is a track hopeful of a better future, starting with a groovy tune and a rhythmic blues beat, that continues throughout the entire track, joined immediately by PJ's dramatically mellifluous voice and Common's deep warm rap, where he talks about enjoying a future in freedom.
Common. Credit: Twitter @common
The “Outro” does pure justice to the entirety of the album. “We are the revolutionary poem exclamation point You don’t have to go home but this is only the start The good part is what comes next”
“We are the revolutionary poem exclamation point
You don’t have to go home but this is only the start
The good part is what comes next”
The entire album goes to show how far the Black people have come in their fight for equality, acknowledging the pain and moving forward in love. You can listen to it here.
Credit: Twitter @common