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Unlike many of his rap contemporaries, Lonnie Rashid "Common" Lynn Jr. has matured artistically — but he did have a head start. When he released his Can I Borrow a Dollar? debut in 1992 under the name Common Sense, he was already sage beyond his age. Finding Forever continues this maturation so subtly some listeners might see it as a holding pattern, but its best material builds on Common's past in a richly satisfying way. Eight tracks here benefit from pal Kanye West's production. If "U, Black Maybe" feels a bit too retro-moralistic, the wonderfully intricate "The People" and the Lily Allen featurette "Drivin' Me Wild" couldn't be tastier. Meanwhile, "So Far to Go," co-starring D'Angelo, beautifully captures the sound of swooning. This is thoroughly adult hip-hop. If that sounds like a contradiction in terms, it's only because so few of the genre's artists have been able to make the transition successfully. The music is of the moment, but it feels like forever.

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Michael Roberts
Contact: Michael Roberts

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