Less self-indulgent than half of all Common albums. That's a compliment. Really.Def Jam, 2016
6.0 / 10
First: goodness, what a collection of beats here. It loses its zest in its second half, but it never truly nosedives in quality and always stays some degree of good, especially in its first quarter with “Home”’s thick drums and well-sequenced drums and the title track’s piano line guiding a path across a small degree of madness. There’s too much going right here in terms of the backing music to not recommend Black America Again.
It’s too bad that Common isn’t as good as the beats he is riding. He knows how to work a rhyme around the maths, sure, but 2016 has been quite the year for Black America in music, meaning Black America Again is in a crowded market in terms of perspective and merit. There’s undeniable worth in representation, but Common’s method of “just asking questions” has to go up against Kemba and Solange and ATCQ and Clipping and so many other black artists who don’t settle for “just asking questions”. Black America Again is not revelatory despite its stance of being revelatory, rendering it less self-indulgent than at least half the man’s body of work.