This song is important. It’s one of those Gospel songs that still works as a secular tune. Sounds of Blackness, the choir that put this song out in the 1990s, were a perfect group and this song had everything about that almost New Jack Swing sound of the time that defined R&B but, as noted, in a semi-Gospel way. That’s what black folk do, innovate and meld like ducks to water. That’s why this song is the perfect first single for the collaboration of rapper Common, man on all manner of keys Robert Glasper, and percussionist/producer Karriem Riggins called August Greene. With the help of another spectacular musician who also impressed a hell of a lot in the 1990s, Brandy, “Optimistic” is given new life and teaches a new generation how good this song is, and that it’s not a bad thing to have “As long as you keep your head to the sky, you can win” rattling around in your head for twenty years. Check out the video for “Optimistic” after the jump.
Production Company Mochilla
Directed by B+
Producer Mike Park
Director of Photography Jerry Henry
Additional Cameras Eric Coleman and B+
Editor Eric Coleman
Colorist Bossi Baker
Recording Engineer Michael Thomas
Sound Mixer Simon Guzman Velez
Gaffer Eli Tahan
Production Assistant Tsz Man Lo
Locations Henson Recording Studios (LA)
and Jackson (MS)
August Greene, the self-titled debut album from the group made up of Common, Robert Glasper, and Karriem Riggins, is out March 9 as an Amazon Music exclusive, available to purchase at Amazon or stream on Amazon Music Unlimited or Prime Music.
Nextbop Editor-in-Chief Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the modern jazz radio show, The Line-Up, Fridays at 9pm CST on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio and is also a contributing writer to DownBeat Magazine and the San Antonio Current.