Common Performs 3 New Songs In An Amazing White House Tiny Desk Concert (Video)

It’s been a busy few days for Common. On Saturday, he crashed The Roots Picnic, and performed a few surprise songs during D’Angelo and John Mayer’s headlining set with The Legendary Roots Crew. Just two days after, he had the privilege of recording a very special version of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series.

Held at the White House, the mini-concert was part of a 1-day extension of the popular South By Southwest conference, held annually in Austin, Texas, called South By South Lawn. Like the main SXSW conference, the festival at the White House included art, technology and, of course, music.

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As is customary with the Tiny Desk series, Common performed a scaled down, acoustic set in an intimate setting. Accompanied by Robert Glasper on the keyboards, Karriem Riggins on the drums, and Bilal on vocals, Comm used the opportunity to re-visit his classic, “I Used To Love H.E.R.,” as well as debut three new songs.

The first new song was “Letter To The Free,” from Ava Duvernay’s film The 13th. The documentary is titled after the 13th amendment, which prohibits slavery, and the film likens today’s current mass incarceration system to modern day slavery.

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His next selection, is “The Day The Women Took Over,” a lush song that Common says reflects how much better things would be if women took over the world. His final song, “Little Chicago Boy,” is dedicated to his father, the late Lonnie Lynn. Longtime Common fan’s likely recognize his father’s name and voice, as he was a fixture on the Chicago MC’s albums, recording poems as “Pops” on Resurrection, Like Water For Chocolate, The Dreamer/The Believer and others.

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Beyond being a beautiful moment in music, the 4-song set is symbolic, as an MC from Chicago sends off the first Black President of The United States, a Chicagoan himself, in his final days at the White House.