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Boomkat Product Review:
I've long had a soft spot for Common, and although he might not always end up with great records you always get the sense that he does what he does for a reason. 'Like Water for Chocolate' was for me the pinnacle of that late-90s sound, it was conscious but it lacked the self-congratulatory preachiness of so much conscious rap, and more importantly the production was jaw-dropping throughout thanks in part to a certain J.Dilla. 'Finding Forever' is the veteran rapper's seventh album and in my opinion his best in years, thanks in part to again being pitted against some quite inspired production. And who out there right now is more on form than the great Kanye West? Kanye produces eight out of the thirteen tracks here with none other than the late Dilla on duty for one of the other cuts so as you can imagine there's rarely a beat misplaced. It's even rumoured that Kanye's production was informed by Dilla's and that he started to cut his beats in a similar fashion as a mark of respect for the great man. I must say that his production does sound slightly different but not at all in a bad way, this is innovative and breathtaking from beginning to end. The album opens on a high with the crumbling 'Start the Show', the sort of hip hop track that we don't get enough of anymore which sounds both propulsive and experimental at once, led wholeheartedly by Common's distinctive flow. Apparently Common feels very much at ease with Kanye and that's probably what he's been missing all these years - just check 'Southside' (the duo's first tune together) and lead single 'The People' (featuring the criminally underrated Bilal) and your faith in both Common and hip hop should be rekindled instantly. Huge recommendation for dazed hip hoppers everywhere, show the love!