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ONE Musicfest 2018 Performing Artist: August Greene
Common, Robert Glasper, and Karriem Riggins synthesize hip-hop with contemporary jazz and soul as August Greene. The musicians were familiar with one another long before they made their 2018 debut as a trio. Drummer and beatmaker Riggins factored heavily in Common's 1997-2007 output and in 2016, produced the rapper's Black America Again, an album featuring Glasper's keyboards and co-production on multiple cuts. Glasper had previously enlisted Common for his Black Radio 2. The trio wrote and recorded "Letter to the Free" for 13th, Ava DuVernay's Emmy-winning documentary examining the connection between slavery and mass incarceration, and won an Emmy themselves in the category of Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Joined by bassist/composer Burniss Travis and vocalist/composer Samora Pinderhughes, the trio subsequently recorded a self-titled, reflective, resolutely pro-black album. Preceded by a Brandy-fronted update of "Optimistic," Sounds of Blackness' 1991 Top Five R&B hit, the album arrived in March 2018.