When vteran rapper Common released his then latest album, A Beautiful Revolution, last year, the record proved to be among the best of the year’s new rap and hip-hop records. Now less than a year after its release, Common has returned with an equally successful offering in that record’s companion, A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2. Released Sept. 10, the 11-song record succeeds in part through its musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. The lyrical content that accompanies that musical content adds its own appeal to the presentation and will be discussed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements, bringing everything together and completing that presentation. It will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, they make the record just as successful as the record’s predecessor and one of this year’s top new rap and hip-hop records.
Common’s recently released record, A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2 is a solid follow-up/companion to last year’s A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 1. It success comes in part through its featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question are everything that audiences have come to expect from Common. Rather than the typical use of turntables, etc. Common has once again opted for a blend of vintage r&b, funk and hip-hop in each song. It seems the closest that Common gets to any “modern” rap and hip-hop musical leanings comes in ‘Saving Grace.’ Even in that case though, that sound and style is accompanied by a clear r&b influence. The balance of those sounds and styles makes this song’s musical content some of the record’s best. On another note, Petry, which finds Common partner with rocker Marcus King, offers audiences more of a southern blues style approach along with the steady hip-hop beats that keep the song moving. This is truly a unique approach for Common. It continues to show Common’s willingness to take chances and really try new things. The result is another example of what makes this record’s musical arrangements so engaging and entertaining. On yet another note, the music bed featured in ‘A Beautiful Chicago Kid’ is another blend of hop-hop and funk that stands out here even from its counterparts. The upbeat tempo and delivery of the arrangement makes it immediately and infectious. That it so quickly grabs listeners and ensures their engagement and entertainment also means that the song’s lyrical content will resonate with listeners in its own right. That will be discussed momentarily. Staying on the matter of the album’s musical content, everything examined here joins with the rest of the record’s musical arrangements to make the record’s overall musical content a strong starting point for A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2. The noted lyrical content pairs with the album’s musical content to make the record even more appealing.
The lyrical content that is featured throughout Common’s new album is just as engaging and entertaining as the record’s musical content because it is also everything that audiences have come to expect from the veteran rapper/actor. The lyrical content featured throughout the album is so positive from one song to the next. It is meant to uplift his audiences in so many ways. Case in point is the early entry, ‘When We Move (ft. Black Thought and Seun Kuti).’ Common wraps about what seems like taking pride in his ancestry and his present. This is inferred as he rap, “Picture this country being brave without us/A slave’s nostalgia/Move through the woods with vigor/When we got free the world moves with us/Now they wanna change their bodies/Go figure/Used to call us/Now they wanna be ******/We the rivers that move through the jungle, yo/When we move we make the world wonderful.” Black Thought expands on Common’s thoughts in the song’s second verse. Simply put, this is a welcome statement of pride and self-confidence in not only Common’s ancestry, but in that of the African-Americans in general. It is also a statement of pride in African-Americans today and how they have changed the world. There needs to be more of this kind of statement in rap and hip-hop and so much less that glorifies drugs, womanizing, etc. As one of the members of Jurassic 5 recently said, ending that lies in a big way in addressing the record labels that expect that kind of content from rappers.
Moving on from there, ‘Poetry’ is another example of the power in this record’s lyrical content. Common raps here about his humility and his religious devotion, as well as his devotion to loved ones. Right from the song’s outset, he raps, “Whether facing the East or facing the beast/I’ma keep fightin’ till the world say, “Peace”/Hollywood guilt put a ***** in grease/I’m God-bodied but devil’s in the deets/But I still listen when Mohammed speaks/And get a good work when PT preach/My mama used to teach/So its lessons to learn/ Before I step and repеat, I step and I earn/I met a girl’s daddy, hе was kept in a urn/The world as we knew it, it was destined to burn/My success is a verb, it’s a blessing to serve.” This first verse makes clear exactly what has been noted here. This is dedication, humility, just pure positive words and vibes. He concludes the verse by stating, “Poetry in motion/We moving forward today.” This is, again, more inspiring content that is certain to resonate with listeners. The song’s second verse is equally rich and moving in its content. All things considered here, the whole of this song continues to exhibit the positivity that has kept Common so beloved throughout his career and keeps him just as respected in this record.
‘Star of the Gang’ is yet another example of the power presented in this record’s lyrical content. Right from the song’s outset, Common uses the song’s chorus, and its statement alone is more than powerful enough. He raps here, “Everything is alright/I’ve been through a lot, but I’m fortunate/Feel it comin’ from all sides/Heavy is the crown, but I’m passionate/And I know I’ll be just fine/Understand the world, we’re the same/I’ll be alright/I’ve been through a lot, but I’m fortunate.” This is a brief statement, being the song’s chorus, but it speaks volumes. This statement sets the stage for the ruminations that follow. Those ruminations are deep in their own right, and continue to prove the importance of the album’s lyrical content. When this song’s lyrical content is considered with that also examined here and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole leaves no doubt as to the noted importance. When the richness and depth of the album’s lyrical content is considered with the equally accessible musical content, that overall content gives audiences more than enough reason to hear this record. Even with that in mind, there is still one more item to examine here. It comes in the form of the album’s sequencing.
The sequencing featured in A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2 is important to examine because it takes the albums’ musical and lyrical content into account and brings it all together. As noted, each arrangement is familiar from Common. Once again, he has taken the road less traveled here, opting for a purer sound than the typical bass heavy approach that is way too commonplace in today’s rap music. The mood stays the same from one song to the next thanks to the sequencing of that content. The result is that it keeps listeners laid back and relaxed. In turn, it ensures in its own right, that maintained engagement and entertainment. The sequencing also plays into the lyrical content, changing topics steadily from one to the next while also ensuring the topics are accessible in each song. The clear attention paid to each work in terms of the musical and lyrical content pays off in its own right. When the result of that work is considered along with the impact of the record’s overall content, the whole makes clear that this record is among the best of this year’s new rap and hip-hop records.
Common’s latest album, A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2, is a strong new offering from the veteran rapper/actor. Its success comes in part through its musical arrangements. The arrangements are everything that audiences have come to expect from Common throughout his catalog. Each arrangement is fully accessible as well as engaging and entertaining because of the approach taken to each work. The record’s lyrical content makes it just as appealing as the noted musical content. The lyrical content is so appealing because of its depth and yet accessibility. The sequencing of all of that content brings everything together and completes the record’s presentation. It takes both items into account and uses them to ensure listeners will remain engaged and entertained throughout the 38-minute record. Each item examined is important in its own right. All things considered, they make A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2 one of the best of this year’s new rap and hip-hop albums.
A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2 is available now. More information on the record is available along with all of Common’s latest news at:
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