February 20, 2018 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Music / Waiting in the Wings

Common’s ground: Celebrated rapper to headline annual summer-concert series with Prospect Park show

Brooklyn Paper
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All music-lovers will find something in Common at this festival!

Rap superstar Common will headline the upcoming semi-free summer-concert series hosted by local cultural organization Bric, its bigwigs announced on Feb. 14.

The Emmy, Grammy, and Oscar-winning performer wowed attendees of Bric’s annual live-music event in 2016 when he took the Prospect Park Bandshell’s stage alongside jazz legend Herbie Hancock, and producers pursued the Chicago-based poet ever since until he agreed to return, an organizer said.

“We began a dialogue backstage with Common in summer 2016 when he made a surprise appearance with Herbie Hancock,” said the festival’s executive producer Jack Walsh.

The rapper’s free June 5 concert will kick-off the local arts-and-culture purveyor’s 40th Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival summer-music series, which honchos expect to release a final lineup for in May and will feature other no-fee and some paid acts, according to Bric spokesman Ron Gaskill.

Common’s performance in Brooklyn’s Backyard will come roughly three months after he releases a new album in March as part of the “supergroup” August Greene, which is comprised of the artist and fellow music-makers Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. The trio won an Emmy for Best Music and Lyrics last year for their track “Letter to the Free,” which appeared on Common’s 2016 album, “Black America Again,” and was featured in that year’s critically acclaimed documentary film “13th.”

The performer — who raps alongside singer Andra Day in her track “Stand Up For Something,” which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song this year after appearing in the movie “Marshall” — received his first Oscar statue in the same category in 2014, when he and John Legend nabbed the honor for their tune “Glory” from the film “Selma.”

And Common has taken home two of the 19 Grammy awards he’s been nominated for since 2001.

He headlines the festival one year after pop-soul band Lake Street Drive kicked-off the concert series, and follows its past A-list opening acts who include “Queen of Funk” Chaka Khan, rhythm-and-blues powerhouse Janelle Monae, and former Talking Heads leader David Byrne.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:48 pm, July 9, 2018
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