Monday, August 06, 2007

Buy This Album: Finding Forever by Common

Common, the Chicago rhyme veteran and standard-bearer for conscious emcees, released his seventh album, Finding Forever, last Tuesday. Similar to his last effort, 2005's Be, the executive producer is Kanye West. Kanye also produces the majority of the tracks, just like on Be. In fact, the albums can be looked at as companion pieces. Common gives us a little taste of his battle-rhyming skills on "Start the Show", when he rhymes "With twelve monkeys on the stage, hard to see who's the gorilla/You were better as a drug dealer". The next track, "The People" is also classic Common. Common talks about the struggles of African-Americans in the way that only he can. Other standout cuts include "Drivin' Me Wild" (which features flavor-of-the-month British singer Lily Allen), "The Game" (featuring scratches by the legendary DJ Premier), The beautiful "U Black, Maybe" (featuring Bilal), and "So Far to Go". On that track, Common has an appearance from MIA soul singer D'Angelo. The last track, "Forever Begins", continues the tradition of a spoken-word piece from Common's father, affectionately called "Pops". While the album is solid, it doesn't really break any new ground. Common's other six albums have been totally different from the previous one. This is the closest that Common has come to repeating himself. Hopefully, Kanye will loosen the reins on the next project. My suggestion would be more tracks from Kanye affiliate Devo Springsteen, who breathes new life into a classic Nina Simone sample on "Misunderstood". Overall, though, Common's Finding Forever is a feel-good, soulful journey and a welcome detour from the materialistic, thug rap that floods the airwaves.


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