Common Looks Back At His Time With Dilla On A Song Fit For February (Audio)
Common has transcended Hip-Hop. He is now a political activist. He’s won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe award for his song “Glory” featuring John Legend in the film Selma. Also, he’s the only Hip-Hop artist to achieve an “E.G.O.” hat trick by receiving an Emmy Award for his role for song “Letter To The Free.”
For his latest music project, Common has joined forces with longtime producer/drummer Karriem Riggins and esteemed Jazz pianist Robert Glasper to form a new group called August Greene. The band is a hybrid of their respective backgrounds in Hip-Hop, R&B, and Jazz.
To follow up their debut single “Optimistic,” a cover of Gospel group Sound Of Blackness’ hit song to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday last month, August Greene has a new track titled “Black Kennedy.” In this song, Common commemorates his fallen friend and fellow Soulquarians crew member J. Dilla, gets reflective about his life and stays true to his name as an artist who looks to be the voice of the proletariat in the Black community.
The soulful “Black Kennedy” channels Dilla’s trademark soulful production sound. Within his four-bar heartfelt chorus, the legendary Chicago MC imagines himself as the U.S. President John F. Kennedy, speaks about his family’s origins, and touches on his memory being with Riggins and Dilla in their hometown of Detroit.
“If I was a Kennedy, I’d be a Black Kennedy / Black car, black tux, this is black symmetry / Raised in the Chi’, though my family’s from Tennessee / I remember me, ‘Riem, and Dilla, we was in The D.”
Earlier this month, February 10 marked the 12th anniversary of J Dilla’s (aka James Yancey) death. Every year since his passing, there have been countless tributes of songs, murals, and memorabilia from his worldwide fans and collaborators to honor his legacy.
Common is among one of the Dilla’s most storied collaborators. Together, they’ve experienced career-highs with songs like “The Light” in 2000. Other highlights include “E=MC2” from J Dilla’s posthumous 2006 album The Shining and “So Far To Go” from Common’s 2007 album Finding Forever.
This record seemingly plays to Monday’s Presidents Day, Black History Month, and J Dilla’s birthday and departure at once.
August Greene is set to release their self-titled debut album via Amazon Original on March 9.