October 21, 2004

Test Spin: De La Soul

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Flava Flav? Spike Lee? De La Soul?

At first glance, The Grind Date may look like a blast from the past decade, but other than an appearance by The Surreal Life’s Flava Flav on the album, there’s nothing dated about about De La Soul’s new album. Among the likes of the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J, few hip-hop artists have had the staying power of De La Soul, who are now into their fifteenth year and seventh album together.

De La wastes no time putting their best foot forward in “Verbal Clap.” In fact, all twelve tracks are high quality, a far cry from other rap artists who force you to listen to sup-par filler tracks before getting to a halfway decent song. Always with their biting social commentary, “Shopping Bags” strikes at the gold digging woman, “just because she’s stacked right, she got your soul.” One can’t help but feel nostalgic when listening to the title track “The Grind Date,” which uses samples liberally and features old school lyrics that smack you all the way back to the third grade. The Grind Date also includes appearances by underground rap artists, MF Doom, Ghostface and Common.

As the venerable Flava Flav so eloquently imparts on a track, “Old school is here to stay, boy!”

Archived article by Ed Kim
Sun Staff Writer