The spirit of innovation was celebrated dureing a creative event at the White House — thanks to President Obama. In collaboration with South by South West, D.C. hosted the first ever South-by-South Lawn and event that included some of your favorite musicians including rapper Common.
Given the fact that the rapper grew up in the same area of Chicago as the prez, it was a no-brainer to have Common on the presidential lawn. Bob Boilen, the Tiny Desk Producer thought the prolific emcee was the perfect artist to feature in a special edition of their Tiny Desk Concert series — the first ever to be filmed away form the official tiny desk at the NPR studios.
Common is known for tackling difficult subjects that concern people of color. This was no different in his Soulful acoustic set. The MC chose to cover the state of Hip-Hop is his opening piece as he spoke about the abuse he believed the genre has taken with newer artists and mass incarceration which he compared to modern day slavery. He helped us imagine a world where a women’s love would help rule and better our people, and finally, he took the opportunity to share an ode to his father who was also raised in the Windy City
The artist was given the liberty of building his team to take on this performance with style and grace — and he did just that. His six-piece band included his close fiends, Robert Glasper on keyboard, Derrick Hodge on bass, Elena Pinderhughes on flute, Keyon Harrold on trumpet, Karriem Riggins on drum, and finally he accompanied two of his songs with the voice of soul singer Bilal.
The performance was very intimate but featured a great choice of music. The Grammy award-winning artist is set to release his 11th studio album, Black America Again, in November.