Common has released the title track from his forthcoming album, Black America Again, and the visual is an astounding foil to the powerful verses that take an unblinking look at the brutality and injustice facing black Americans today.
After opening with footage from the shooting of Alton Sterling, Common invokes the memories of Trayvon Martin, victims of game violence, and the Flint water crisis to remind the listener what's preceded the horrific headlines of today and how the more things change, the more they sadly stay the same.
Featuring Stevie Wonder's rousing refrains, Esperanza Spalding on bass, Patrick Warren on strings, J Rock with the scratch of the turntable, and verses from Chuck D and MC Lyte, the song is just as powerful as the mighty group assembled to perform it on both instrumental and lyrical levels.
Common draws lines between the prison industrial complex and slavery ("The new plantation, mass incarceration / Instead of educate, they'd rather convict the kids") and shouts out director Ava DuVernay and senator Cory Booker as voices vital to "rewriting the black American story."
Portraits of grieving faces and archival footage of Malcolm X unfurl along with Common's bars that beat from the heart of Black Lives Matter, making "Black America Again" a piece that deserves multiple viewings to absorb its profundity.