Common recruits Gucci Mane and Pusha T for a jazzy, socially conscious remix of “Black America Again,” the title track of his recently released 11th LP. “We wow the world with black magnificence/ A symphony for the divine and we the instruments: black innocence,” Common raps over gritty drums and an arpeggiated piano loop.
Gucci touches on his prison stint and the difficulty of being “a black man in a white man country.” “Come look into the eyes of a man named Gucci/ Got me peeping out the blinds like Malcolm with the uzi,” he rhymes. “The government, the church, and the world is so polluted/ They callin’ me a criminal, and I’m a revolution.”
Pusha continues the theme of race relations: “I’ve been part of the problem/ As of lately, I’m trying to solve ’em/ I sold dope, and I still talk the jargon/ Just like Malcolm ‘fore the X was on him.”
The original “Black America Again,” which featured a chorus cameo by Stevie Wonder, highlights the Common’s new album of the same name. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the rapper called the song “a call to action,” highlighting the racial injustices prevalent in American society.
“I talk about things going on in Hollywood, and while I think things are going in a better direction, at one point it felt like once a movie got one person of color, that was all,” Common said. “It met the quota. I also talk about being stripped of natural religions and names, pulling a quote from Malcolm X that I heard in a Public Enemy song.
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“‘Black America Again’ is also dealing with how black people do each other,” he continued. “I’m holding us responsible also, not that we are the source of the problem. I don’t think it started with us. All the violence and lack of job opportunities was not created by us. But now that we’re in that situation, we gotta figure out a way to get out without killing each other. It’s more of a call to action than anything for everyone. We all have to stand up for each other.”