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Black Musicians Reflecting Turmoil of the Times in Music

FILE - This May 2, 2015 file photo shows T. I. performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans. Motivated by the deaths of two young black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, Tip released the EP "Us or Else" which focuses on the issues of social justice and police brutality. (Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP, File)

(The Oklahoman via the Associated Press) – NEW YORK — When he entered the recording studio this spring, Grammy and Oscar-winning rapper Common had plenty to vent about — and it all came out.

Police shootings. Institutionalized racism. Mass incarceration. Fouled water supplies. White privilege. Wage gaps. Black Lives Matter. Inner-city violence.

“Things just felt more urgent for me,” Common said of “Black America Again,” his 11th studio CD and easily his angriest.

His album dropped not coincidentally on Election Day. It became just the latest politically charged record by black artists this year — others include Alicia Keys’ “Here,” Solange’s “A Seat at the Table” and, of course, “Lemonade” by sister Beyonce, who made headlines with the black-empowerment themes in her video for “Formation” and during her Super Bowl halftime show — reflecting the power, and sometimes disillusionment, that black people are feeling through music.

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