Hip Hop News: Common Tops Billboard 200, ‘Finding Forever’ Diversifies Hip Hop

On his 7th album, Finding Forever, Grammy winning rap superstar Common hits the jackpot, scoring his first career #1 on the Billboard Album Chart. The G.O.O.D. Music/Geffen Records album scanned 155,329 in its first week, 32,187 more than the next best selling title. Common’s previous best ranking on the chart was #2 for 2005’s BE. Like BE, Finding Forever has fellow Chicagoan Kanye West in the role as executive producer. Guest artists on the album include West, Lily Allen, will.i.am, D’Angelo, and Gang Starr’s DJ Premier. Along with production by West, will.i.am and the late Detroit legend J. Dilla (So Far To Go) produce tracks. What’s extraordinary about the best selling Finding Forever is that it was truly the people who made Common #1. With songs and an album that have received critical acclaim and consumer interest, Common’s music has not yet penetrated mainstream commercial radio. Those who bought the album bought it for the artist and his brand, not a particular song. Very few artists make the connection with the public as Common does. As his hometown paper Chicago Tribune wrote, “Common has become the rarest of pop success stories: a mainstream hip-hop artist who projects a mature, compassionate image and thrives on thoughtful, soul-fired albums designed for repeated listening rather than short-lived singles.” On top of his music success Common has recently launched a burgeoning acting career with roles in Smokin’ Aces with Jeremy Piven as well as the soon-to-be released American Gangster with Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington as well as filming both Wanted with Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman and The Night Watchman with Keanu Reaves and Forest Whitaker. There are very few artists who consistently deliver such thought provoking cutting edge material who are accepted by the mainstream as Common. The chart topping may have signaled a new era in not just hip hop, but in credible music overall, and Common and his fans have led the charge to this era.

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