Finding Forever – Common

Finding 4ever

01. Intro
02. Start the Show
03. The People
04. Drivin’ Me Wild Feat. Lily Allen
05. I Want You Feat. Will.I.Am
06. Southside Feat. Kanye West
07. The Game
08. Black Maybe Feat. Bilal
09. So Far to Go Feat. D’ Angelo
10. Break My Heart
11. Misunderstood
12. Forever Begins
13. Play Your Cards Right Feat. Bilal (UK Release)

Common or Common Sense’s first album was released in 1992. Being a genuine MC Common could have released an album every year since 1992 but like fast food and Thanksgiving dinner, you’d rather wait for the feast. A feast is what describes Common’s music best . The goings-on in the hood, politics, relationships with family & the opposite sex, social injustices and empowerment of self are some of the themes and subjects addressed on a Common album. The term “thought provoking” is often over-used but for an artist of Common’s caliber it’s a dead-on description.

Finding Forever is his seventh release, and in that time he has been signed to Eazy E’s Ruthless Records, beefed with Ice Cube (it was over his Hip-Hop classic I Used to Love H.E.R. which Cube took offense to), dated Erykah Badu which many critics believe influenced his music on 2002’s Electric Circus, and his eventual signing to Kanye West’s label in 2005.

Having been a dedicated Common listener since Like Water for Chocolate, Finding Forever jumped out to me as erring towards commercial. Not bad just slightly commercial with features by Lily Allen and Will.I Am. I was surprised though when they made for a good fit. The album intros with a jazzy jam session with an absolutely lovely sounding harp. It winds you down for an album that begs for your undivided attention. Excluding the Intro all of the tracks fit into one of three categories: Love /Woman, Politics/Social Commentary and Rap/Hood.

Love/Woman- I Want You featuring Will.I.Am., So far to go feat. D’Angelo and Break my Heart. Common is one the few rappers that can address situations with woman without it being sex and vulgarity. Sex definitely plays a big part in his raps but your shorty can listen to this without feeling like she’s being degraded. These tracks feature scenarios like Common trying to get to know a young lady or his engaging in conversation with one and how they hookup.

Politics/ Social Commentary- Misunderstood, Forever Begins, The People, Drivin’ Me Wild feat. Lily Allen, and Black Maybe feat. Bilal. The People is about just that, the people. He as usual addresses conceptions of the hood, how his community affects his music and our place in this world. He raps “My raps ignite the people like Obama.” Common addresses the struggles of being different in the hood on Black Maybe, where you face personal obstacles because of your perceived differences to those around you. Misunderstood has an obvious Nina Simone sample that touches on everything from the lack of employment to AIDS and the destruction of dreams.

Rap/Hood- Start the Show, Southside feat. Kanye West and The Game. Start the Show is a hard track that places Common’s lyrical ability over a steel pan, which adds a different dynamic to what would be an otherwise staid track. These tracks are Common flexing his rap muscles at it’s most aggressive. There’s still consciousness but in a different way. He attacks weak and unoriginal MC’s. “12 monkeys on stage it’s hard to see who’s the gorilla/ you were better as a drug dealer,” Common spits on Southside.

Finding Forever is a great addition to Common’s catalogue. Though not his best work this will be in everyone’s top ten list at the end of ’07 I’m sure. With over 15 years in the game producing music of higher quality than his contemporaries I’m sure he’ll be around another 15. A definite COP IT. Peace, Mathis signing out.

9 Responses to “Finding Forever – Common”

  1. R. Kelly's Lawyer Says:
    July 31st, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    Great review Mathis. Common is one of my favorite rappers. He album is like a continuation of “Be”—which is a good formula. Smooth and Cokeless.

  2. Goat Says:
    July 31st, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    I think be was way better…currently listening to It Was Written

  3. R. Kelly's Lawyer Says:
    August 1st, 2007 at 5:44 am

    Nah u buggin. One can consider “Be” to be a better album. But not by a wide margin.

  4. KO Says:
    August 1st, 2007 at 7:08 am

    Forever finding fulfillment with this one. Good but could be better.

  5. Big Homie Says:
    August 1st, 2007 at 8:09 am

    Be I must admit is better, but cant take away of a good quality album that Finding Forever contains.

  6. Beggar Says:
    August 1st, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Better then alot of trash out…

  7. S. Mathis Says:
    August 1st, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    I’m looking forward to listening to “Finding Forever.” I have never been the biggest Common fan, but love the transformation he has gone through at the hands of the greatest combo producer/emcee ever (Kanye West). Hopefully people vote for better hip/hop with their dollars and go out to buy this album. My new campaign: to bootleg copies of all wack/unoriginal hip hop artists (see 50 Cent, Jeezy, etc), and actually buy emcees that put some thought into their lyrics & attempt to be original (see Kanye, Consequence, Common, etc). September 11, a major showdown: the wackest “Top emcee” in the game ever versus the ultimate “hip hop artist” Kanye. Perhaps a 50-flop (there is such thing as a platinum flop) combined with a huge Kanye number will kill off what remains of G-unit. Keep up the wack singles/videos Fif! I’ve ranted enough! Peace people.

  8. Mathis Says:
    August 2nd, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Finally you visit S. Mathis.

  9. S. Mathis Says:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Finally heard the Common album, and agree with what seems to be the majority opinion: that ‘Finding Forever’ is not quite as good as ‘Be’. It isn’t as conceptual. ‘Be’ seemed like it had a continuous theme throughout, whereas ‘FF’ seems more like a string of good songs put together. Also, nothing quite reaches the dopeness level of the title track ‘Be’ on this album. Though, the opening sequence to ‘the People’ comes real close. I thought DJ Premier produced the track and so, was shocked to see K’s name in the credits. It sounds like his style and Common mentions getting “…some Premo…” Anyway, I digress – Don’t get it twisted – this is a good album! Common’s greatest strength is his presence on the mic. His voice always seems to hover above the beat versus relying on it or even being drowned out by it. He just sounds like a professional emcee in the truest since of the word ‘professional.’ 15 years from now, Common will be teaching a class on hip hop culture at a university somewhere. Hope he can talk about his long road to finally getting that platinum album he had back in 2007.

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