Multi-faceted Hip-Hop superstar Common is prepping his highly anticipated seventh album, Finding Forever, for a July 31st release on G.O.O.D Music/Geffen Records. The album is the follow up to the four times Grammy nominated, critically heralded and Kanye West produced Be, which spawned hits including The Corner, Go, and Testify. Finding Forever, finds Kanye again taking the bulk of production work with help from Will.I.Am on the sultry I Want You, the late great J. Dilla on So Far To Go, featuring a surprise guest appearance by D'Angelo and G.O.O.D Music producer Devo Springsteen on Misunderstood. On Finding Forever, Common, rips the mic like a hungry newcomer. The street single The Game produced by Kanye with scratches by the legendary DJ Premier is a horn drenched, vintage NY rap boom-bap banger from the Chi-town emcee, no less. The resounding lead single The People finds Common lyrically asserting why and who he creates his music for over regal strings, delectable keys and hard to get vocals by Gil Scott Heron. This is the explicit version.
It's no small feat to follow an instant classic like Common's Be
(2005) but he skillfully builds on that success with a worthy sequel. The two albums share much in common, especially with Finding Forever
's focus and brevity (under 50 minutes) and especially with Kanye West's musical direction. The two Chicago natives have forged a strong chemistry together, especially on songs like "Start the Show" and "Southside" where both men appear, but just as a producer, West makes his presence felt on everything from the catchy piano tinkles of "Driving Me Wild" (featuring British chanteuse Lily Allen) to the brass-knuckled "The Game" (featuring DJ Premier). As has become his trademark, Common balances heartfelt earnestness ("Black Maybe") with clever charm ("Break My Heart") though he has one too many love songs ("I Want You"). Whether Finding Forever
is a matter of individual, song-for-song taste: At worst, it's on par--a laudable accomplishment for a veteran now 15 years into his career. --Oliver Wang