The ever-dramatic race for the White House was more controversial than ever this year – and we all know how it ended now. But the arrival of the 2016 US Presidential Election was also the chief reason behind Chicago rapper Common releasing his eleventh studio album, Black America Again. It’s an invigorating record for the turbulent times that America, and the world, are facing.
To many, an album from Mark Ronson, steeped in the influence of 60s and 70s funk, will seem like an odd departure for the producer, whose best-known work includes Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black and his 2007 collection of cover songs. But glance at his credits – which include hip hop (Ghostface Killah, Q-Tip, Wale), R&B (Macy Gray, Estelle, Winehouse) and pop (Christina Aguilera, Lily Allen) – and you’ll see that Ronson is a producer who wears his influences on his sleeve. His first studio album, Here Comes the Fuzz, still sounds like he and his ensemble of hip hop heavies had ridiculous fun making it. And that’s what Uptown Special feels like.