Common - Finding Forever [2LP]
FINDING FOREVER a title that, in Common's words, refers to an effort to find that musical place where one can exist forever. Production comes primarily from Kanye West, and, as on BE (Common and Kanye's previous effort together), FINDING FOREVER utilizes samples from such diverse artists as Nina Simone, Bob James, Stevie Wonder, Gil Scott-Heron, Mountain, Dorothy Ashby, and Paul Simon to create a purer, soul-influenced hip-hop sound. Lyrically, Common is in the same place as ever, spreading positivity and spirituality, speaking on relationships and the ghetto struggle, and preaching love as the central message. The artist formerly known as Sense also utilizes topical media references ranging from the astronaut love-triangle incident of '07 to contemporaneous celebrity breakups. Supplemental production work comes courtesy of Karriem Riggins, Will.i.am, Devo Springsteen, and the late, great J. Dilla. Other guests include Lily Allen, Bilal, Dwele, D'Angelo, and DJ Premier (who provides scratches on "The Game"). Compelling and entertaining from start to finish, FINDING FOREVER is another triumph for one of the strongest purveyors of positive hip-hop.