All-star band featuring Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins rocked NPR Music's showcase.
August Greene hasn’t become a prolific live entity yet. But in the wee hours of Thursday morning (March 15), the all-star hip-hop troupe proved to be abundantly potent in its appearance at South By Southwest.
Playing just its second full concert, the collaboration between Common, keyboardist Robert Glasper and drummer Karriem Riggins closed out NPR Music’s characteristically eclectic showcase at Stubb’s. Over the course of 10 songs and 50 minutes, August Greene offered what Common called a exhibition of “the black people of genius,” deftly blending rap and jazz, and a bit of funk, in a manner both fresh but also familiar to each members’ body of work.
Though it tapped some of Common’s catalog for favorites such as “The People,” “Thelonious” and “The Light,” August Greene mostly highlighted its self-titled debut album, which came out earlier this month. Common flowed over a bed of sound created by Glasper’s bright chordings and Riggins’ busy, muscular patterns, along with bass and turntables. Samora Pinderhugh provided the vocal hook heavy lifting, while Maimouna Youssef joined the troupe for a rousing verse on “Practice” – which, along with “The Light,” Common dedicated to women in the age of #metoo.