Common may have found what he was looking for. Be left fans eager for what was to come and showed the non-believers that Common was more than just a "conscious" emcee rapping over abstract beats. His much anticipated, seventh full-length album, Finding Forever, is a tribute to legendary hip-hop producer, J Dilla, who died in 2006 of complications related to lupus. Finding Forever describes Common's desire to leave a legacy through his creative contributions to world - much like that of the beloved producer with whom he collaborated in the past.
The Dilla Aura
The only song on Finding Forever actually produced by J.Dilla was "So Far To Go," which was orginally recorded for J.Dilla's, The Shining. A lyrically enhanced version with more vocals from D'Angelo appears on Finding Forever. For the majority of the production Common once again enlisted Kanye West to lead his talented team. On the intro particularly, West properly - almost startlingly--channels Dilla to create a sound worthy of rhymes about soul, passion, the people and beyond in what could very well be Common's best album to date. There is nothing that sounds out of place and each song builds to the soulful ending.
The Sum of Forever
"Drivin' me Wild" is about individuals' hopeless pursuit of the glamorous life through superficial enhancements. The song incorporates the pop-friendly Lily Allen without diluting the overall strength of the rhymes. The only time he ever slips into mediocrity is with the lines, " had a body that you can't pay for/she had some D's on her, but they wasn't fake though." "Southside" contains the ubiquitous Kanye West guest appearance. 'Ye and Com trade barbs on street life and staying true to oneself. Common spits that he's, "A conscious n***a with more mac(k) than Steve Jobs," We could, however, do without Kanye shouting "southside" through the hook.
"Break My Heart" is a thoughtful, near-harangue about love. He seems to offer an explanation for what happened to his widely publicized relationship with Erykah Badu, "what happened to me is what happens to lots of men/get deep in love and then you're needin' some oxygen." In "Misunderstood," produced by Kanye's cousin, Devo Springsteen, Common makes a passionate plea for awareness about AIDS, the tragedies of street violence and finding peace of mind in the face of dreams deferred.
Throughout, Common is like an iron fist in a velvet glove, delivering sharp lyrical blows with gentle soulfulness to mellow out the intensity.
The Final Word on Finding Forever
This album is a must have. Finding Forever is a taut, concise composition. There is no need to stop, pause or fast-forward over anything. Listen to it many times to catch the clever lyrics and absorb the multi-layered sound. J. Dilla would be proud.
Finding Forever Track Info
- "Start the Show"
- "The People"
- "Drivin Me Wild"
- "I Want You"
- "The Game"
- "U, Black Maybe"
- "So Far to Go"
- "Break My Heart"
- "Forever Begins"