Common teamed with pianist Robert Glasper and drummer Karriem Riggins to form a new band, August Greene. The outfit unveiled their first song, a cover of Sounds of Blackness’ “Optimistic,” featuring vocals from Brandy.
August Greene’s take on “Optimistic” finds the group recreating the original’s upbeat shuffle with Riggins’ impeccable drumming and Glasper’s ethereal piano. Brandy delivers a deft vocal performance accentuated with layering and harmonies to match Sounds of Blackness’ massive choral sound. Common adds a new verse, sprinting over the nimble beat with bars packed with internal rhyme.
August Greene’s cover of “Optimistic” will appear on their self-titled debut album, set to arrive March 9th as an Amazon Original.
Before forming August Greene, Common, Glasper and Riggins collaborated on “Letter to the Free.” The track appeared on Common’s 2016 album, Black America Again, and also earned the rapper an Emmy for its appearance in Ava DuVernay’s documentary about mass incarceration, 13th.