Common appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this week to perform “Say Peace”, a song from his newest album, A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 1. Much like the album, this rendition on Fallon included features from Paris “PJ” Jones and Black Thought, co-founder of The Tonight Show house band, The Roots.
Common’s Tonight Show performance came less than a week after the arrival of his 13th studio album, and like many of the performances during quarantine, presented more like a music video than in-studio performance. After a quick introduction from the show’s host and namesake, video of Common and Black Thought in front of a green screen began to roll. In line with the song’s lyrics and message, clips of protests and activists from across history appeared behind the rappers, along with video of PJ as she sang the song’s hook and backing vocals.
Driven by an old-school bassline, jazzy drums, and flavors of clean-sounding electric guitar, “Say Peace” highlighted Common’s racial-justice-focused lyrics perfectly. His first verse evoked names like Marcus Garvey, Malcom X, and Ron Finley, while explaining the importance of finding inner peace and the different methods of achieving such a goal. Black Thought’s verse follows this same theme, providing listeners his view of peace and his role in the fight for racial equality: “I’m at peace in the struggle, I’m awake and not afraid/While I’m channelin’ my energy from particle to wave/The peace, like Mandela seated on Robben Island/Wise like a prophet arrivin’ from the highlands.”
Watch Common perform “Say Peace” on Fallon below and click here for more clips from the show.
Common ft. Black Thought & PJ – “Say Peace” – The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon