Keep on Pushing- Curtis Mayfield
I really do not know what the next four years will be like. I do know that our President Elect has stoked the fire of hatred and bigotry, and it is now a roaring flame ready to burn and spread. Our country is more divided than ever. The fact that almost half of the voting age population agrees with him really is not sitting well with me right now. As a Black man in America I feel uncertain about my well being and safety. I mean, I already knew my life meant less. But I just did not think America would let White Supremacy win out. I am still processing this so here is a quote that hits it on the head.
“In this election, White people did not vote against their self-interests. They may have voted against a self-interest — a few actually — but not their most important one: The preservation of White supremacy. Retaining the value of a Whiteness they believed to be increasingly devalued superseded everything else. Including their own livelihoods; their own physical and financial well-beings; their own Christianity; their own agency; their own money; their own educations; their own futures; their own children’s futures, their own country’s legacy; their own country’s status with the rest of the world; their own environment; their own food, air, and water; their own rights; and their own lives.”
Damon Young- Very Smart Brothas
America is changing. Or its was, I don’t really know anymore. So what can we use to heal, to reflect. Is there anything that can help us look to the future? For centuries Black people used music to help them get rid of the troubles of this world. Slaves sang work songs to get through, we produce Hip Hop/soul songs to make due.
Common’s latest album BLACK AMERICA AGAIN is at this very moment soothing the pain I am feeling. It is meant to uplift, to inspire, and spread love.
Black America Again flows between Public Enemyesque political rhymes, into pulsating bass kicks that support his vivid descriptions of love, life, and our future. The album is well timed because it seems that we may have to recreate Black America Again. We have to create the America where all PEOPLE are created equal. Where everyone can feel like they matter. You know, the values this country was founded on, the mottos we continually spout but never live up to. This album is therapeutic in its content and sound. I’m channeling my ancestors right now. Letting the beat and the rhythm take hold and heal my soul.
I also want to big up Common for continuing to drop albums that contain age appropriate content and show growth as a man. Common is 44 years old, I am 36 years old. I want to hear music that I can relate to. Music that shows personal reflection, and the ability to channel that onto the track. There are a lot of artists from my formative years whose raps are still the same as they were in 1996. We are not 16 -25 anymore. Our issues and thoughts, and lives have changed. That should be reflected in our music, but to quote Oddisee we are.
“Glorifying music that’s abusive and a threat to us, and if you got a message in your records you collecting dust”
Want Something Done– Oddisee
I have been a common fan since the 90’s. Each album seemed to be able to speak directly to me in some way. This album is particularly special because I am focused on the history of Black music in America and Common helps make some connections for me.
Listening to Negro Spirituals has become a past time of mine. They are crucial to the roots of Black music and I am a Black Preachers Kid so naturally, I love them.
Soona Will be Done With the Troubles of the World. A Slave song that gave us hope, and faith that one day we could leave this troubled world to live with God. Or at least be able get a job, eat healthy food and raise a family in peace here on earth. It is a song that has come into my life recently and meant a lot. Once again Common was right there with me.
Soon Ah Will be Done– The Andrews Gospel Singers
On a track entitled Home featuring Bilal Common raps a modern Negro Spiritual. He spits as kind of a rap superhero. A superhero prophet who was sent down to deliver a message. The microphone is his staff and has been told “In your lyrics use scriptures and passages to make em rise Lazarus” Rhymes that wake the dead, or as we say now. Rhymes to get you “Woke”
Home- Common feat Bilal
As he deflty flows on how to help the state of Black America, you can hear in the chorus ” Soon I will be done with the troubles of this world, going home to live with God” When I heard this, I got the spine chills. The continuity of Black music and how we can reinvent it so it never dies is amazing to me. Not to mention that he is sampling a song I have been currently studying. I have been focused on self improvement and so has he. He has a daughter, I have two. He’s a rapper, I’m a DJ. I mean, this is what music is supposed to do. Connect people, and enrich lives to make humanity better.
So check the recipe,
1.Relevant lyrical content,
2. 100 percent hip hop with beats the knock.
3. Infuses all the elements of Black music, giving new life to our songs of passion and struggle.
Even though we are entering into four years of the unknown, and what seems like 10 steps backwards for social progress. Take a listen to this album. It’s medicinal.