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Music Review: Common – Finding Forever

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One of Chi-town’s rap gods is back and he’s looking to be here… forever.

Rapper Common, or more commonly known as Com, follows up 2005’s Grammy nominated Be with Finding Forever, his seventh studio album in 15 years. 

What has he been doing in between albums you ask? Well for one, he started an acting career. With starring roles in Smoking Aces and the upcoming American Gangster, not to mention making this album, he’s been busy to say the least.

The title Finding Forever, is the quest to make “forever music,” according to Com. He says the album's title "really means to find a place in music where you can exist forever.” 

“I’m becoming more confident in who I am as a person, as a man,” Common said. “And I think, too, that at a certain point you just got to be like, ‘Man, I’m just going to make some music that feels good.’ I can’t be thinking too hard about what this cat is thinking over here or what’s going on in hip-hop. I ain’t even paying attention to that. I’m just making music. I write love songs, point blank, and I ain't ashamed of it," Common stated.

The quest for forever begins with the first single “The People.” With Kanye West on the track and Com on the raps, it’s easy to “find peace in beats and breaks.” The second single, “The Game,” also features ‘Ye on the beat with scratching/mixing by DJ Premier. With this one, you see Com’s harder side as he talks about his status in the rap game: “My favorite was Kane, now I’m dope with weight in the game / You was hot, but can’t stay in the flame.” 

After the intro, the first song entitled “Start the Show” has ‘Ye on the beat with a slow pace. One lyric stands out in particular: “With twelve monkeys on stage, hard to see who’s a gorilla / You was better as a drug dealer.” It makes you wonder if Com going at 50 Cent and G-Unit with this one.

“Drivin’ Me Wild” features British pop star Lily Allen and a nice flow by Common. The song is the supposed third single off of the album. “I Want You” showcases will.i.am on the beat and single for a very sexy and sultry track. 

The album is executive produced by West. Nine of the 11 songs (not counting the intro) feature his beats. On “South Side,” Kanyeezy spits a hard verse, but gets a tad bit annoying on the hook. Com delivers blistering verses as well: “Your career is a typo / Mine was written like a haiku.” The track is sure to be a Chicago anthem.

Throughout the album, you may think you are listening to the late James “Dilla” Yancey on several songs. But in reality, you are hearing Kanye’s best Dilla impression. According to Com, Kanye tried to chop the samples similar to Dilla’s style as a way of honoring him. 

However, there is one Dilla beat on the record found on the song “So Far To Go.” The track features a guest spot by R&B singer D’Angelo. The original version can be found on J.Dilla’s The Shinning. For this version, Com spits entirely new verses. Having Dilla on the album ties in with it’s title because in Com’s eyes, and many others, Dilla and his music are forever. 

So has Common found ‘forever?’ That still remains to be seen. He insists that “those that doubt Com will soon believe.” While the album is amazing, the effort falls just short of Be. Even still, Common on his worst day is better than 90 per cent of other rappers in the game on their best day.

Album Grade: B+ 

Standout Tracks:

- The People

- The Game

- Southside feat. Kanye West

- So Far To Go

- Break My Heart

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