Finding Forever

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Finding Forever
Studio album by Common
Released July 31, 2007
Recorded 2006–2007
Genre Hip hop, Conscious hip hop, neo soul
Length 49:53
Label GOOD, Geffen
Producer Kanye West (exec.), Common (co-exec), Derek Dudley (co-exec), will.i.am, J Dilla, Devo Springsteen, Karriem Riggins, Derrick Hodge
Common chronology
Be
(2005)
Finding Forever
(2007)
Universal Mind Control
(2008)
Singles from Finding Forever
  1. "The Game"
    Released: May 22, 2007
  2. "The People"
    Released: May 22, 2007
  3. "Drivin' Me Wild"
    Released: August 31, 2007
  4. "I Want You"
    Released: October 9, 2007
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (73/100)[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau A−[3]
Entertainment Weekly B+[4]
Pitchfork Media (5.6/10)[5]
PopMatters (8/10)[6]
RapReviews (9.5/10)[7]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[8]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[9]
Sputnikmusic (2.5/5)[10]
Stylus Magazine C−[11]

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.[12] 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,[13] losing to Kanye West's Graduation at the 50th Grammy Awards[14]

Conception[edit]

Background[edit]

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."[15]

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."[16]

Recording[edit]

Common began working on the album in early 2006, recording it throughout the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, and Spain with Kanye West.[17][18][19] 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."[20] Kanye West described the recording sessions as "a real easy environment".[21]

Music[edit]

Production[edit]

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 fusioned together".[20]

Rapping[edit]

"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[...]"

Singles[edit]

Common and Kanye West debuted "Southside Super Bowl" on VH1's Super Bowl Pre Bash. The track is remade for Finding Forever under the alias "Southside".

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 Dillla 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."[20]

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 third single is "Drivin' Me Wild", which features Lily Allen.[22] Its video premiered on YouTube on September 1, 2007.

The fourth single was "I Want You", mixed by Dylan "3-D" Dresdow and produced by will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. The music video was co-directed by Kerry Washington.

Reception[edit]

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".[1] Pitchfork Media criticized it for being "tired".[5] Rolling Stone similarly criticized it for being boring at times (though they gave a generally positive review).[8] 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."[23] 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."[24] XXL gave it a score of XL (four stars out of five) and said, "Once again, Common makes timeless hip-hop seem easy."[25] 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."[26]

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."[27] 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."[28] Spin gave it a score of 9 out of 10 and called it "livelier, grittier and better."[29] 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."[30] 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."[1]

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.[31]

Grammy Nominations[edit]

Finding Forever was nominated for three 2007 Grammy Awards:

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Intro"   Derrick Hodge 1:17
2. "Start the Show"   Kanye West 3:14
3. "The People"   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 4:44
7. "The Game"   Kanye West, DJ Premier (scratches only) 3:32
8. "U, Black Maybe" (featuring Bilal) Kanye West 5:02
9. "So Far to Go" (featuring D'Angelo) J Dilla 4:27
10. "Break My Heart"   Kanye West 3:39
11. "Misunderstood"   Devo Springsteen 4:46
12. "Forever Begins"   Kanye West 7:36
iTunes and United Kingdom Bonus Track
No. Title Producer(s) Length
13. "Play Your Cards Right" (featuring Bilal) Karriem Riggins 3:07

*Co-producer

Additional credits[edit]

# Title Notes
1 "Intro"

Songwriters: Derrick Hodge
Callowhill electric bass: Derrick Hodge
Drums: Karriem Riggins
Keyboard: James Poyser
Harp: Brandee Younger

2 "Start the Show"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, A. Bergman, M. Bergman, M. Legrand
Sample: "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" by Dorothy Ashby
Keys & Synth: Omar Edwards
Violin: Margherita Biederbick & Laura Rajanen
Viola: Hannah Klien
Cello: Zoe CartierAdditional Vocals: Bilal & Kanye West

3 "The People"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, G. Scott-Heron
Sample: "Long Red" by Mountain
Sample: "We Almost Lost Detroit" by Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson
"Let the Drums Speak" by Fatback Band
Callowhill electric bass: Derrick Hodge
Keyboards: Omar Edwards
Additional Vocals: Dwele

4 "Drivin' Me Wild"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, C. Stepney, L. Webber
Sample: "Love Has Fallen on Me" by Rotary Connection
Keyboards: Omar Edwards

5 "I Want You"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, W. Adams, G. McDaniels
Sample: "You're Getting A Little Too Smart" by The Detroit Emeralds
Sample: "Baby, This Love I Have" by Minnie Ripperton
Sample: "Feel Like Making Love" by Bob James
Sample: "It's a New Day" by Skull Snaps
Keys & Synth: Omar Edwards
Background Vocals: Rhea Williams

6 "Southside"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, D. Covay
Sample: "If There's a Will, There's a Way" by Don Covay
Keys & Synth: Omar Edwards
Outro Vocals: Rhea Williams

7 "The Game"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, S. Ekos
Sample: "Tezeta" by Seyfu Yohannes
Sample: "Half Good, Half Sinner" by O.C. (vocal sample)
Sample: "The Corner" by Common (vocal sample)
Scratches: DJ Premier

8 "Black Maybe"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, S. Wonder
Sample: "Black Maybe" by Stevie Wonder & Syreeta Wright
Background Vocals: Bilal
Percussions: Karriem Riggins
Keys & Synth: Omar Edwards
Keyboard: James Poyser
Callowhill electric bass: Derrick Hodge

9 "So Far to Go"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, J. Yancey, M. Archer, E. Isley, M. Isley, O. Isley, R. Isley, R. Isley, C. Jasper
Sample: Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time for Love)" by The Isley Brothers
Skit plays: "As Long as He Lies Perfectly Still" by Soft Machine

10 "Break My Heart"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, G. Duke
Samples: "Someday" by George Duke
Keyboard: Omar Edwards
Callowhill electric bass: Derrick Hodge

11 "Misunderstood"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, D. Harris, B. Benjamin, G. Caldwell, S. Marcus
Samples: "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" by Nina Simone
Additional Vocals: Bilal
Keys and Flute: Omar Edwards

12 "Forever Begins"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. West, P. Simon
Sample: "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" by Paul Simon
Sample: "She's Leaving Home" by Syreeta
Keyboard: Karriem Riggins
Piano, keyboard and synth: Omar Edwards
String Arranger and Conductor: Derrick Hodge
Callowhill electric bass: Derrick Hodge
Violin: Monique Spencer & Edith Dawn Yorkley
Viola: Dawn Smith
Cello: Alana E. Bennett

* "Play Your Cards Right"

Songwriters: L. Lynn, K. Riggins
Samples: "Under the Street Lamp" by Joe Bataan

Charts[edit]

Chart (2007)[32][33] Peak
position
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

Personnel[edit]

Technical credits[34]

Release history[edit]

Country Date
United States July 31, 2007
United Kingdom August 2, 2007

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Critic Reviews for Finding Forever". Metacritic. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  2. ^ Andy Kellman. "Finding Forever - Common". Allmusic. 
  3. ^ "CG: common". Robert Christgau. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ Neil Drumming (July 27, 2007). "Finding Forever Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Patrin, Nate (July 30, 2007). "Common: Finding Forever". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  6. ^ Vrabel, Jeff (July 30, 2007). "Common: Finding Forever < PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  7. ^ Juon, Steve "Flash" (July 31, 2007). "Common :: Finding Forever :: Geffen Records". RapReviews. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Hoard, Christian (August 1, 2007). "Finding Forever". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  9. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (August 2, 2007). "Common: Finding Forever". Slant Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ Munro, Tyler (July 31, 2007). "Review: Common - Finding Forever". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ McGarvey, Evan (August 7, 2007). "Common - Finding Forever - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  12. ^ Hasty, Katie (August 8, 2007). Common Scores First No. 1 on Billboard 200. Billboard. Accessed August 8, 2007.
  13. ^ List of Grammy Award Nominess. Retrieved on 2011-5-10.
  14. ^ Grammy Award Winner 2008. Retrieved on 2011-5-10.
  15. ^ Moss, Carey (February 17, 2006). Common Wants Kanye for His Own Forever (No Diamonds Required). MTV. Accessed May 13, 2007.
  16. ^ Reid, Shaheem (May 24, 2006). Common, Kanye Going for 'Glory' on Raw, Soulful New Songs. MTV. Accessed May 13, 2007.
  17. ^ Collins, Hattie (July 28, 2007). House of Common. Guardian Unlimited. Accessed October 31, 2007.
  18. ^ Myrie, Russell (June 29, 2007). Interview: Chicago's cerebral rapper Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. The Independent. Accessed October 31, 2007.
  19. ^ Stack, Tim (June 23, 2006). Go West, Young Man. Entertainment Weekly. Accessed October 31, 2007.
  20. ^ a b c Rodriguez, Jayson (April 11, 2007). Kanye West, Lily Allen Finding Something in Common. MTV. Accessed June 13, 2007.
  21. ^ Reid, Shaheem (April 19, 2006). Kanye Says He Won't Do 'Fast-Food' Music – 'M:i:III' Track Took 50 Hours. MTV. Accessed October 31, 2007.
  22. ^ Concepcion, Mariel (July 12, 2007). Common Rapping for Zune, Starbucks. Billboard. Accessed October 31, 2007.
  23. ^ Vibe review
  24. ^ Miles Marshall Lewis (July 24, 2007). "Common's Simple Denominator – Page 1 – Music – New York". Village Voice. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  25. ^ XXL review
  26. ^ Shannon Barbour. "Common – Finding Forever Review". About.com. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  27. ^ Pete Cashmore (August 14, 2007). "Album Reviews - Common (Finding Forever)". NME. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  28. ^ Nathan Rabin (August 1, 2007). "Common: Finding Forever". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  29. ^ Thomas Golianopoulos (August 30, 2007). "Common, 'Finding Forever' (G.O.O.D. Music / Geffen)". Spin. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  30. ^ Steve Yates (July 14, 2007). "CD: Common, Finding Forever". The Observer. Retrieved January 20, 2013. 
  31. ^ ROBERT CHRISTGAU, DAVID FRICKE, CHRISTIAN HOARD, ROB SHEFFIELD (December 17, 2007). "The Top 50 Albums of 2007" Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 20, 2007
  32. ^ World Chart Positions. aCharts.us. Accessed October 31, 2007.
  33. ^ Billboard Albums Chart. Allmusic. Accessed October 31, 2007.
  34. ^ allmusic ((( Finding Forever > Credits ))). Allmusic. Accessed October 31, 2007.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Now 25 by Various artists
Billboard 200 number-one album
August 12, 2007 – August 18, 2007
Succeeded by
UGK (Underground Kingz) by UGK