Finding Forever is the seventh studio album by Common, released on July 31, 2007 on GOOD Music and Geffen Records. Like Common's previous album, Be (2005), Finding Forever is primarily produced by Kanye West. The album debuted at the number one on the Billboard 200, selling 155,000 units in the first week, becoming Common's first chart-topper. Selling over 500,000 units in the US, it has been certified Gold. Finding Forever was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, losing to Kanye West's Graduation at the 50th Grammy Awards.
|Studio album by|
|Released||July 31, 2007|
|Genre||Hip hop, conscious hip hop, neo soul|
|Singles from Finding Forever|
Common explains that "Finding Forever really means to find a place in music where you can exist forever. Music can be forever if you make it from the heart, if you make it from the soul and it’s good. And I look at music like Bob Marley's or Marvin Gaye's or Stevie Wonder's or A Tribe Called Quest's, that's forever music. And I’m continuing on the quest to make forever music."
Common also says: "And now with the death of J Dilla and other things, you start thinking about forever lasting for real through music [...] Jay Dee will last forever through his music and hopefully generations down the line will know about Common through his music. And it's also saying: I been doing this for a nice period of time, so I'm trying to find the place where I can keep existing in the game and make music I love."
Common began working on the album in early 2006, recording it throughout the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, and Spain with Kanye West. Most of the album was recorded while he was filming his roles in American Gangster and Smokin' Aces. Common explained that "if you working on a movie or something ... [there is] less weight on writing the songs... At a certain point, as an artist, you go through things like, 'Man, I gotta make something better than what I did before.' [But] I didn't feel like that this time, like I got to make this better than Be. I wanted to make a better album... I definitely felt freer." Kanye West described the recording sessions as "a real easy environment".
Common said that on some tracks, Kanye tried to chop the samples in a similar way to Dilla as a way of honoring him. It has also been said that Kanye West attempted to bring back a really soulful feel to the album. "It's gonna be like College Dropout and Be and Illmatic all combined together".
"Sometimes you forget to just rap," Common explained when going back over a few of his past missteps. "I've been doing albums so long, so I look for new challenges. I spit so much on the first albums – and not to say I was the ultimate spitter, but I did it so much that I was looking for new things to do as a writer. I think that's where that stems from, me not really going hard on the rhymes. 'Cause I wanted to take on new subject matters and different things so I could grow and keep it interesting for me. But then you do get to the essence of what you are here for. And I love to rhyme. It does come out[...]"
Released on May 22, 2007, "The People" featuring a chorus by Dwele is the first single on Finding Forever, and produced by Kanye West. On the track, Common name-checks J Dilla and DJ Premier, rapping, "My daughter found Nemo/ I found the new Primo." He added that "The People" "is really a declaration of who I am right now."
The first video shot for the album, as well the second single for this album is "The Game." It contains free associative lyrics and a 1990s style boom bap beat. The duo brought in DJ Premier to scratch a chorus out of lines from "Half Good, Half Sinner" by O.C..
|The A.V. Club||B+|
|The Irish Times|||
|Los Angeles Times|||
|MSN Music (Consumer Guide)||A−|
Finding Forever has received mainly positive reviews from music critics. On Metacritic, it has been given a score of 73 out of 100 based on "generally favorable reviews". Pitchfork criticized it for being "tired". Rolling Stone similarly criticized it for being boring at times (though they gave a generally positive review). Vibe gave it a score of four out of five stars and said it "captures Common maturing gracefully into his--and hip hop's--middle age at a time when many peers are either talking retirement or being forced into it." The Village Voice gave it a favorable review and said, "Common delivers the expected--political, lover-man, and battle rhymes told with wit and complexity over street-commercial beats--in spades." XXL gave it a score of XL (four out of five) and said, "Once again, Common makes timeless hip-hop seem easy." About.com also gave it four stars out of five and called it "a must have" and "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."
NME gave it a score of 7 out of 10 and said that the rest of the album "is soulful and intelligent where 'intelligent' is not exclusive to 'good beats and rhymes.' Which is what it's all about." The A.V. Club gave it a B+ and said, "It's tight, cohesive, devoid of filler, refreshingly brisk (at 50 minutes long), and sonically and lyrically focused." Spin gave it a score of 9 out of 10 and called it "livelier, grittier and better." The Observer gave it four out of five and said it was Kanye West's skill "in embellishing a sample and his unerring eye for a soulful hook that is consistently bringing the best out of his mentor-turned-protege." Canadian magazine Now gave it three out of five and said, "If you can stomach the contrived slow jams and the sensitive soul-baring, there are a couple of decent joints produced by West."
Despite some minor criticisms, Finding Forever was well-received, yet did not reach the same respect as his previous album Be. The album has since been certified gold by the RIAA as of October 25, 2007. This album was No. 15 on Rolling Stone's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2007.
Finding Forever was nominated for three 2007 Grammy Awards:
Information is based on the album's Liner Notes
|2.||"Start the Show" (featuring Kanye West)||Kanye West||3:14|
|3.||"The People" (featuring Dwele)||Kanye West||3:24|
|4.||"Drivin' Me Wild" (featuring Lily Allen)||Kanye West||3:42|
|5.||"I Want You" (featuring will.i.am)||will.i.am||4:30|
|6.||"Southside" (featuring Kanye West)||Kanye West|
Prelude: J Dilla
|7.||"The Game"||Kanye West||3:32|
|8.||"U, Black Maybe" (featuring Bilal)||Kanye West||5:02|
|9.||"So Far to Go" (J Dilla featuring Common & D'Angelo)||J Dilla||4:27|
|10.||"Break My Heart"||Kanye West|
Prelude: Derrick Hodge, James Poyser & Karriem Riggins
|12.||"Forever Begins"||Kanye West||7:36|
|iTunes and United Kingdom Bonus Track|
|13.||"Play Your Cards Right" (featuring Bilal)||Karriem Riggins||3:07|
|2||"Start the Show"||
Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, A. Bergman, M. Bergman, M. Legrand
Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, G. Scott-Heron
|4||"Drivin' Me Wild"|
|5||"I Want You"||
Songwriters: L. Lynn, W. Adams, G. McDaniels
Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, D. Covay
Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, S. Ekos
|8||"U, Black Maybe"||
Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, S. Wonder
|9||"So Far to Go"||
Songwriters: L. Lynn, M. Archer, J. Yancey, E. Isley, M. Isley, O. Isley, R. Isley, R. Isley, C. Jasper
|10||"Break My Heart"||
Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, G. Duke
Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, P. Simon
|*||"Play Your Cards Right"||
Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. Riggins
|Canadian Albums Chart||10|
|Dutch Albums Chart||58|
|French Albums Chart||82|
|Irish Albums Chart||57|
|Norwegian Albums Chart||27|
|Swiss Albums Chart||23|
|UK Albums Chart||35|
|U.S. Billboard 200||1|
|U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums||1|
|U.S. Billboard Top Rap Albums||1|
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- Vibe review
- Miles Marshall Lewis (July 24, 2007). "Common's Simple Denominator – Page 1 – Music – New York". Village Voice. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
- "Common: Finding Forever". XXL. July 10, 2007. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
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- World Chart Positions. aCharts.us. Accessed October 31, 2007.
- Billboard Albums Chart. Allmusic. Accessed October 31, 2007.
- allmusic ((( Finding Forever > Credits ))). Allmusic. Accessed October 31, 2007.