- by Rob Jones Rating:9 Release Date:2016-08-26 Label: A.O.I. Records
De La Soul And the Anonymous Nobody is a sterling effort with a stellar cast. A talented trio came to fame with their Daisy Age rap approach and the timeless classics of 1989 gem 3 Feet high and Rising cemented a place in hip hop history. However, the Gangsta gusto took hold in the nineties and the peace and love ethics of De La Soul were not the norm. So what of the trio in 2016? Well, such is their star that a number of renowned talents such as David Byrne, Damon Albarn, Little Dragon, Snoop Dogg, Jill Scott, 2chainz and Estelle have come on board for the new album. To add to which even lesser mortals such as Justin Hawkins of The Darkness are also included to rock up the party!
Therefore, with such an assembled cast variety is guaranteed but is musical gold also a cert? The answer is that the early Midas of nascent De La delights will never be bettered. However, the current crop has the boys justify their status as rap royalty. There are an abundance of top tracks and with the flavours of a number of collaborators an interesting and inspiring tome of tunes ensues. The album floats along seamlessly even when the roads of rhythm meet a roundabout and splinter out in to an array of aural avenues. There is never a traffic jam but there is certainly a jam!
In fact Hawkins takes centre stage on the longest track present which is a huge stride away from the expected terrain of DLS. This would closer resemble the terrain of Queen! Elsewhere the melodies are memorable with the visitors being given scope to stamp their authority on proceedings but without taking away to the DLS slant. There is also the tender from both male and female performances and the expected wordplay is ever evident. Nonetheless, risk taking is always appreciated and when it works it is time for mass applause. So cue the clapping!!!
There are plenty of highlights and no spare flesh on this pertinent release and considering that this project began from a Kickstarter campaign there is even more credit due as both quantity and quality are aplenty when compromises could have been made just to get the record out. The release date was even put on hold to get clearance for the galaxy of guests but perseverance has led to prizes.
The skit has also returned and although not quite as wacky as the yesteryear interludes, these abbreviations also add to the attraction. A lot of energy, enthusiasm and enterprise has been applied and the ultimate goal is that the beats that cannot be beaten! Well done De la Soul for sticking with your aspirations and providing us with one of the triumphs of the year.
Love the fact that this group doesn't have that ill-advised 'thug' album in their catalogue...one of hip hop's more underappreciated gems for sure...great review!