There are few great new releases I'm excited to share with you, so let's get right to it. Up first...
Common – “My Fancy Free Future Love”
The veteran hip-hop and universally recognized master lyricist is back with a new album due out a week from today. Let Love is Common’s 12th solo album and serves as the musical compliment to his new book Let Love Have the Last Word: A Memoir. As the title suggests, the book is a very personal exploration of Common's relationship with love. More specifically how love and mindfulness can build communities and allow you to take better control of your life through actions and words. He believes love is the most powerful force on the planet and ultimately, the way you love determines who you are and how you experience life. Therefore, "let love have the last word" in his estimation is not just a declaration; it is a statement of true purpose. A daily promise. With that as the backdrop, the album touches on his relationship with God, partners, community and ultimately, himself.
Common exposes deeply personal and vulnerable moments in his life, like when his daughter essentially questioned his manhood and how he was sexually molested as a child, to meta subjects such as our society becoming fractured by politics and race and much more.
KCRW was fortunate to host Common at an Apogees session where he discussed the album in greater detail with our very own Anthony Valadez. Part of that session aired on Morning Becomes Eclectic so don't miss it. Watch his performance of "My Fancy Free Future Love" from that night and make sure to check out the full set and interview here.
Little Brother - "Everything"
I'm a big, big longtime fan of Little Brother. So when I saw rapper/singer Phonte announce in a tweet on Monday night that a new Little Brother album was dropping at midnight, my eyes opened up wide and I nearly gasped. By the way, for those who are unfamiliar, Drake credits Phonte as his biggest inspiration behind his hybrid rapping-singing style. This is the North Carolinian's first album in 9 years!
I was a bit skeptical when I discovered that one of the original members - and one of hip-hop's most sought after producers, 9th Wonder - isn't a part of the project, Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte don't disappoint. In fact, the two call it "the album of our [their] careers." Similar to when Tony Allen left Fela Kuti and The Africa '70 and was replaced by two drummers to make up for his mastery of the kit, LB filled the 9th Wonder vacuum with more than adequate and well respected producers. The 15 track, 37 minute album has the lion share of the production handled by frequent collaborator and fellow Justus League member Khrysis, Focus and Nottz, Black Milk, Abjo, Devin Morrison, Blaaq Gold and more.
Take a listen to "Everything" from May the Lord Watch, which is available on digital platforms now.
Maria Usbeck -"Obscuro Obituario"
The former front woman of the band Selebrities returns with her eponymous solo project. Envejeciendo, which means aging in Spanish, is the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter's second solo project.
Usbeck has crafted a concept album about our obsession with youth and death, lush with tropical, new wave, synth heavy pop songs sung in Spanglish. I have been absolutely charmed by this album and have a feeling you just might be too.
I’m pleased to feature one of my favorite songs from the album, "Obscuro Obituario" from Envejeciendo, which is out now.