Release Date: Mar 9, 2018
Record label: N/A
Genre(s): Rap, Alternative Rap, Contemporary Jazz, Jazz-Rap, Contemporary Rap
From Sam Cooke to Tupac, musicians have long used their platforms to call for change. But change is usually framed as something far off in the distance, a destination we move toward, yet don't actually expect to see. The phrase "we gotta do better" rings hollow because it stops short of the "how." Thankfully, August Greene serves as more of a toolkit than an aimless aspiration. Group mates Karriem Riggins and Robert Glasper make the perfect production duo on August Greene.
Rapper Common, drummer and beatmaker Karriem Riggins, and keyboardist Robert Glasper were well acquainted long before they debuted as August Greene in early 2018. The first two artists have been close associates since the late '90s. Two decades later, Glasper hosted Common on Black Radio 2 and reciprocated by contributing to a few songs on Common's Riggins-produced Black America Again.
The cluster of songs that open August Greene's debut album offer a precious glimpse into how a 40-something rapper can continue to sound modern and, more importantly, dignified. The MC in question is Common, who heads up the trio alongside pianist Robert Glasper and drummer Karriem Riggins, two longtime collaborators who share his interest in the places where jazz meets hip-hop. The first track, "Meditation," is, simply, a beautiful rap song.