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Rap - Released April 2, 2012 | Play It Again Sam


Soul - Released September 1, 2016 | Sanctuary Records


Rap - Released August 26, 2016 | A.O.I., LLC

Hi-Res Booklet
De La Soul are back in business with an absolute banger. After a couple of years in the wilderness, having to resort to Kickstarter to fund this project, it’s hard to know whether they’re aware of what regular albums sound like, or whether they just don’t care. « And the Anonymous Nobody » is an album with the Midas touch, taking the best sounds around and blending them together into a deliciously fresh cocktail. Funky bass riffs collide with gospel chorus and old skool hip hop on “Pain” (ft Snoop Dogg) and “Snoopies”, while other tracks like “Property of” and “Memory of … (US)” are far more minimalist,  mixing jazz infused chords with sparse bass lyrics. “CBGBS” and “Lord Intended” explore the space between rap and rock and deliver a raucous, expansive sound that’s totally engaging and fulfilling: a crossover we never knew we needed. In a style that’s oddly reminiscent of Gorillaz at their apogee, "And the Anonymous Nobody" feels more like a collaborative mashup that your brilliantly talented friends made, rather than something produced for popular consumption, and it’s great! As if the creative force of De La Soul wasn’t enough, the numerous artists who feature is a real who's who: Jill Scott, Snoop Dogg, Damon Albarn, David Byrne, Little Dragon, 2chainz, Usher, Roc Marciano, Estelle, Pete Rock and even the British singer Justin Hawkins, from The Darkness ! These additions only add to the magic at work here, by bringing their own distinctive styles to an already eclectic mix. As a result this album is brimming with personality, as well as a total disregard for standard practice. Long narrative introductions are followed by funky choruses, tiny rock interjections, honest yet well-delivered lyrics… A veritable musical tour de force, and a lesson in creativity for those seeking originality in a world of mass production. It's one of those albums that keeps on giving, to be savoured time and time again.

Rap - Released August 26, 2016 | A.O.I., LLC


Rap - Released July 20, 2016 | A.O.I., LLC


Rap - Released July 11, 2016 | A.O.I., LLC


Rap - Released May 6, 2016 | A.O.I., LLC


Rap - Released October 7, 2014 | Castle Communications

De La Soul were interrupted just before they could deliver the third volume in their AOI series -- projected to be a DJ album -- to Tommy Boy. (The label perhaps bailed out from a 15-year relationship precisely because the group was going to release such a commercially bankrupt title, one that was planned instead to appear on an independent label run by Maseo.) De La Soul quickly realized they couldn't go ahead with the plan after signing their AOI label to Sanctuary, so they wrote a new record, The Grind Date. Although it may see them settling into a holding pattern, at least the pattern of 2001's AOI: Bionix is one that any hip-hop fan won't mind hearing repeated. Better yet, it boasts productions from an excellent cast of figures -- partner in crime Supa Dave West, author of the best tracks on their AOI series, J-Dilla, who's stretching out his patented (read: overdone) sound to embrace classic hip-hop, an only slightly commercialized Madlib, and young phenom 9th Wonder. Madlib gets what must be the first lead single of his career, a bright, antimaterialist tale called "Shopping Bags (She Got From You)" that thumps like a club tune, but lurches as only the Beat Conductor could do it. "Verbal Clap" finds J-Dilla allowing some grit into his productions, and Supa Dave only continues floating the most fluidly catchy productions of any rap producer in action. Meanwhile, De La Soul voices Posdnuos and Dave balance their time breezing easy on bumping message tracks with a few old-school shots that show them a bit defensive about the passing of time. (Check out "Come On Down," a Madlib-produced shot with Flava Flav, or "Days of Our Lives" featuring Common.) Without a concept to tout, The Grind Date doesn't gel like AOI: Bionix, but it does show De La Soul keeping everything together more than 15 years after their debut. After all, you certainly wouldn't see MF Doom guesting on a Tone-Loc record. ~ John Bush


De La Soul in the magazine