Common, Brandy & Robert Glasper Re-Make Sounds Of Blackness’ Optimistic & It Soars (Audio)

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Common is taking his inherently collaborative spirit onto its next journey. The Chicago MC, along with pianist/producer Robert Glasper and drummer/producer Karriem Riggins have formed a new group, August Greene.

Wasting no time, the group announced that they will drop their first, self-titled album on March 9, via Amazon. The pioneering single, “Optimistic” features another award-winning artist, Brandy. The record covers the Twin Cities’ R&B/Gospel group Sounds Of Blackness’ original, as produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis (posted below).

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Common, Glasper, and Riggins have worked together at numerous points in their prolific careers. Most recently (and heralded) in their track “Letter To The Free,” which was created for the Netflix Original, 13th and has since garnered an Emmy for “Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.”

Individually, each of the three have built strong foundations in music, coming together often to create, tied by a strong friendship.

Glasper has won three Grammy Awards for both his production and his piano dexterity and has been nominated for six overall. During his career, he has held a prominent role on projects by Mac Miller, Anderson .Paak, Big K.R.I.T., Bilal, Kendrick Lamar, Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Kanye West, J Dilla, Jay-Z and countless others.

Karriem Riggins is a quadruple threat. He parlays in numerous musical elements, including drumming, production, DJ’ing, and rapping. He served as a drummer for Common’s accompanying band, A Black Girl Named Becky in the ‘90s, and he has produced albums for Hip-Hop mainstays like Slum Village, Erykah Badu, J Dilla, The Roots, Kanye West, Talib Kweli, KAYTRANADA, Earl Sweatshirt and more. He has also served as a Jazz drummer for stars like Donald Byrd, Hank Jones, Milt Jackson, Norah Jones and others.

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The vibe from “Optimistic” seems to fit not only the genre-bending sound August Greene thrives on creating, but also the positive message they wish to deliver. The group will make their first live debut at New York City’s Highland Ballroom on January 26.

#BonusBeat: Sounds Of Blackness’ 1991 original:

This was the first single on The Evolution Of Gospel. The collective featuring Ann Nesby and directed by Gary Hines would win three Grammy awards.