What does it sound like?:
Is it really eleven years since the last De La Soul LP? Yes, and it’s not that far off thirty since Three Feet High And Rising. Yikes. You may have read about how that classic and their other records are trapped in digital limbo. This time round, De La have dodged that bullet by creating their own sample library, recording more than 200 hours of jams played by their touring band, and using them to build this record. This gives rise to a tremendous variety of sounds, from the goofy lo-fi surf guitar of ‘CBGBs’ to the wistful daydream of ‘Memory of (US)’, all French horns and strings, to the smooth funk of the Snoop-cameoing ‘Pain’. No song sounds like the one before it, but no matter what the mood or the instrumentation, there is always a solid groove going on. It’s low key, laid back, summery, positive stuff (and refreshingly low on the N & B words @Sewer-Robot mentioned in his great review of Anderson .Paak). As well as the expected spots from R&B / hip hop luminaries like Usher and Jill Scott, we have the proverbial galaxy of stars making guest appearances – David Byrne, Damon Albarn and Little Dragon all contribute, and even Justin Hawkins out of The Darkness (yes, really) turns up, meaning that there are only five tracks on the album where De La appear on their own. That said, it remains cohesive, and some of the collaborations are real high points of the record. With the variety of vocals and instrumentation on offer, it’s like a slow motion version of The Avalanches, where that group’s manic collisions are given room to stretch out and breathe instead of being whisked away seconds after they’ve arrived. I’ve been listening to it as I type this out, and as each track comes on I’ve been thinking “ah, this is my favourite”, and then as the next starts, “no, it’s this one”.
What does it all *mean*?
I’d guess De La are all into their late forties at least by now. I can’t think of (m)any other rap artists who are producing work this creative and idiosyncratic so far into their career.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…