Veteran Chicago MC Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known as Common, poses some tough questions in the video for “Black America Again,” the title track from his forthcoming album. “We kill each other as part of the plot/I wish the hatin’ would stop,” he says as images of tear-streaked faces are shown.

Common’s involvement in a multitude of causes has been ongoing for several years. In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, he explains why he believes activism is crucial in Hip Hop and it appears he feels his music is needed right now.

“I love music, art, but for a while there I was a lot more interested in filmmaking, acting, producing,” he explained. “I’m still impassioned about acting. But when the purpose is there, when I have purpose in music, it resonates on another level. I think you can hear it in that album. There was a lot of violence in Chicago, and beyond the violence, people were just needing hope and opportunities to succeed.

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“I wanted to be a voice for that, and that’s what I tried to be in Nobody’s Smiling,” he continued. “I was looking not just at Chicago’s struggles, but looking at America, and giving a perspective of what blackness is. I was trying to say that we should be embracing all the different nationalities — diversity is a great thing. Music can inspire and give hope, and be a conduit for change. I feel energized right now by all the beautiful art out there.”