Common‘s thought-provoking single “Black America Again” was just one of of the many socially conscious singles recently released about race issues in America. Expanding upon his single, Common will host a discussion at the historically black university Morehouse College in Atlanta on Oct. 24, just a week before dropping his 11th studio album, Black America Again, set for release on Nov. 4.
Common’s forthcoming album boasts features from a number of artists across the R&B landscape, including Stevie Wonder, Marsha Ambrosius and John Legend. The Chicago MC also taps Grammy-winning gospel artist Tasha Cobbs for “Little Chicago Boy,” the initial title for Common’s album before he renamed it to the timely Black America Again.
The “Glory” rhymer recently dropped the second single from his album, “Letter to the Free” featuring Bilal, and the song was featured in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary 13th, which highlights the racial inequalities within America’s criminal justice system. “Southern leaves, southern trees we hung from, barren souls, heroic songs unsung/ Forgive them Father they know this knot is undone,” Common raps in the first few lines on the emotive track, a possible reference to Billie Holiday‘s timeless “Strange Fruit.” The song, much like “Black America Again,” shows Common’s frustration with the unjust criminal justice system, as well as the tragic killings of black people all over America. The second verse also begins with a reference to Maya Angelou’s poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.