Showing posts with label de la soul. Show all posts
Showing posts with label de la soul. Show all posts

Saturday, September 10, 2016

video review: 'and the anonymous nobody...' by de la soul

So I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected I would. Hell, I think I enjoyed this more than a lot of people did... which is a damn shame, because it's a great, intelligent release that definitely deserves a ton more attention from legends in hip-hop.

But moving on to something more experimental, I think I'm going to push the Angel Olsen review back a day or two... mostly because clipping., Bastille, and Nick Cave all dropped records and I'm far more interested in those. Stay tuned!

album review: 'and the anonymous nobody...' by de la soul

So a few months back I had the misfortune to read a piece at MTV from someone I hesitate to call a journalist about his first exposure to De La Soul's 3 Feet High And Rising. And if you want to imagine the worst sort of scattershot, self-involved millennial 'thinkpiece' for which Buzzfeed pays a premium, it would be that, as the author meanders from half-hearted engagement with the project to musings about yoga, bagels, and a whole load of dance music that shows the sort of professional disinterest that creeps right up to the line of insulting. And look, I get it if the old-school sample-heavy sound isn't for you - that can be a bit of an acquired taste - but the complete failure to actually dig into the music or content almost makes me suspicious that it was an attempt to troll and gain clicks rather than make an actual point.

But it also served as a stark reminder that I myself hadn't really given De La Soul their due, so in preparation for this review and an album funded on Kickstarter and their first full project in twelve years, I went back through their entire back catalog and wow I'm glad I did. Naturally clever and insightful without being incredibly showy about it, featuring some great grooves and killer sampling choices, I can definitely see why De La Soul is held up as legends in hip-hop, and I'd argue their material has certainly aged better than some of their contemporaries. Sure, there were a few goofy elements that can read as missteps, but De La Soul were comfortable their audience was smart enough to get the subtext behind the comical flourishes, like the album-spanning middle finger to Vanilla Ice that was De La Soul Is Dead, or how measured their retort to gangsta rap was on Stakes Is High, or just how goddamn fantastic Buhloone Mindstate was, probably standing as my favourite of their classic records. Now I will say that around the turn of the millennium De La Soul did hit some diminishing returns, mostly courtesy to overloaded guest stars lists and a seeming dilution of their tighter thematic focus, but even with that I did like the aborted Art Official Intelligence trilogy to the point I'd love to see it eventually concluded. And yet, I have to say I was a little worried about this project, mostly because not only had the overloaded guest star list returned, it was more varied and eclectic than ever, which can be tough to blend into a cohesive sound or a smart narrative. But look, I had faith in De La Soul, that they could pull something together that was interesting and insightful - did they pull it off?