Common, Finding Forever (B.A.D. Music, 2007)
Finding Forever is the long-awaited follow-up to 2005's critically acclaimed and reasonably commercially successful Be. Again Kanye West is handling the bulk of the production. Can the two of them recapture the "magic" they created with that album, or is the most disappointing rap release in ages? Hmm...
Some ethereal keyboard twiddling that leads into "The People," lest they just start right in with the rap music.
The killer, MF Doom-sounding lead single. Having heard it a few times now, it's pretty lazy lyrically. Still, I can't be that mad at it.
A mess. Like an afterschool special set to some of the worst 2003-era Kanye production.
I WANT YOU
The one track will.i.am did. It actually has an old school feel not unlike his work on the last Game album. I don't find it to be a very good fit for Common's dreaded loverman raps though.
A duet between Common and Kanye about the part of Chicago where they lived before they could afford otherwise. Works a rock sample not unlike "The Takeover," but way more repetitive and hence grating.
DRIVIN' ME WILD
The much-hyped collabo with Lily Allen, whom I enjoy like a milkshake. I was hoping it would have that Mark Ronson sound, but it doesn't. This sounds like crap!
SO FAR TO GO
Oh good, that one song from J Dilla's the Shining. If the idea was to highlight just how amazing a producer he was by sandwiching this between some of the worst Kanye beats evar, then I guess they achieved their objective.
BREAK MY HEART
The most awful thing I've heard all week. Sample lyrics: "She said you got tight pants on, but you don't seem gay. I said, nah, that's that guy from N'Sync-ay. She said are you a rapper? Nah, I got my SAG card, I'm an actor." And wait until you hear the "beat."
Another of the singles that was released far ahead of the album. "The old Primo" supplies the scratches, though you wish he'd done the beat as well.
START THE SHOW
I guess this beat was meant to sound "cold," but to me it just sounds like shit. Several of these tracks are ridonkulously lo-fi-sounding, as if Kanye was trying to capture that dirty Jaylib sound. He shouldn't have tried.
A really shitty production by Kanye's cousin "Devo Sprinsteen." Interesting fact: Did you know that "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," i.e. the most annoying classic rock song evar, was first sung by Nina Simone?
Some killer Common raps over a real mess of a Kanye track. The chorus in particular is just nails-on-chalkboard grating, but the whole thing is kinda half-produced and muddled-sounding.
PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT
Supposedly a UK-only bonus track. It's kind of a banger though, definitely better than most of the rest of the stuff here.
COMMENTS: Wow, this was a disappointment! Even if you were one of the people who thought Be was the second coming of Illmatic, I can't imagine you liking this. Common himself has been stuck in this rut of spitting vaguely progressive-sounding slogans about how life is hard in the ghetto and how he doesn't like white people for some time now, but it's Kanye who really dropped the ball here. I haven't been a fan of a lot of the stuff he's done, but he hits a new low with some of the bullshit here.
BEST TRACKS: "The People" "So Far to Go"
BONUS VIDEO: "The People"