Common is one of the very few names that needs little introduction in hip-hop.

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Not only has he grown into a much-celebrated veteran of the scene since his 1992 debut album Can I Borrow A Dollar?, but he has expanded his versatility to producing movies, acting and performing Disney voiceovers.

Now, the Chicago rappers’ latest venture consists of a fusion trio called August Greene, alongside Grammy-winning pianist-producer Robert Glasper and drummer-producer Karriem Riggins. The group’s self-entitled debut album was unveiled to the world last fortnight and contains eleven full-length tracks. The collective harmonious energy on the release is evident as it is not a new partnership between the three, as Riggins was the main producer on Common’s most recent solo studio album, 2016’s Black America Again, while Glasper also worked heavily on that album too.


The supergroup recently formed after sharing the Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding original music and lyrics for Common’s smash hit Letter To The Free and Common’s unprecedented performance at The White House in 2016 with this backing live band. The former track also featured in Ava DuVernay’s 2016 Netflix documentary 13th. After certainly not being strangers to one another, the group decided to form this welcomed alliance and made their debut performance at New York City’s Highline Ballroom.

“August Greene” is a somewhat soulful project with Glasper and Riggins taking care of the production, creating an easy-listening laid back vibe while Common seemingly effortlessly incorporates the always timely themes of optimism and black excellence – especially in today’s climate. The album features guest appearances from the soulful Brandy and talented jazz musician Samora Pinderhughes. The album was preceded in January by the debut single Optimistic which features Brandy (a reprise of the Sounds Of Blackness‘ 1991 classic), while Samora Pinderhughes features on Let’s Go and Practice. Overall August Greene have developed a sound that successfully spans R&B, hip-hop and jazz in a refined, hybrid manner.