Watch Common Cover Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” Backstage on ‘The Tonight Show’
Earlier this month, Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins brought their group August Greene's song "No Apologies" to the The Tonight Show stage, but it turns out that wasn't all. Backstage, they also recorded a cover of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer," mashed up with their single "Black Kennedy," for a video released today (Aug. 27).
Supported by two backup vocalists and a double bassist, the trio turns the glam rock anthem's chorus into an unexpectedly apt hook for Common's verses of political optimism. On the record, his bars build to a punctation announcing himself as the next Black president, but here, he shouts out Senator Kamala Harris of California.
"The jurisdiction of justice/Non-fiction of a hustler's heart/From dust we start/And we must embark/To passion mark the people/Had our first black prez, Kamala is the sequel," Common raps.
"Black Kennedy" comes from August Greene's self-titled debut album, released in March. The group also performed the song, along with album cuts "Optimistic," "Practice" and "Let Go," for NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series in February.
As it so happens, that performance was the trio's second NPR set, following a gig for the aforementioned first Black president. Before forming August Greene, Common, Glasper and Riggins performed a special Tiny Desk Concert on the White House lawn in 2016 during then-president Barack Obama's South by South Lawn festival.
Watch August Greene perform a mashup of "Black Kennedy" and Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" below.
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