By Kaye Foley
Known for his introspective music, Common’s latest hit takes on mass incarceration and the prison system in the United States. “Letter to the Free” is featured in Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary, “13th.”
The Oscar and Grammy Award winner sat down with Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga to talk about the documentary, his latest album, Black America Again, The Hamilton Mixtape, and more.
Common, who worked with Ava DuVernay on 2015’s Selma, says of the new documentary, “The film is very important and significant to move society forward.”
“When she told this story, I just said, ‘I have to be a part of this. I wanna be a part of this,’” Common said. “I’ve been learning more and more about this situation. … It opened my eyes to so many things. And I just wanted to, as a writer, be a part of something that can really hopefully help society and help open our eyes up to our history, so that we can write that new story.”
Common is also featured on The Hamilton Mixtape. He said that the musical Hamilton influenced his latest album.
“What I love about it is obviously the multicultural aspect of it. It made me feel more connected to American history,” he said. “But I also loved how Lin and the team didn’t dumb down the lyrics. They kept everything — as far as hip-hop goes and as far as writing goes, it was at a high level. … It just showed me that art can be appreciated at the highest level.”
Although Common says he didn’t vote for President-elect Donald Trump and disagrees with his good friend Kanye West, he’s thinks Kanye’s intentions in meeting with Trump are positive.
“I know he said some of his intentions were … about changing, you know, what’s going on in Chicago,” Common said. “If Kanye went for that reason … that’s my man, if that’s where his heart is, I’m definitely going to support him. And you know what? We can disagree, but we’re still brothers. I’m still rocking with Kanye. That’s my guy.”
Common reflected on the past eight years with President Obama in the White House. “They’re good people. They know how to have fun. They can appreciate the different walks of life. I don’t feel like they’re only for a certain race. They’re a black family, black people, who love all.”