De La Soul ‘and the Anonymous Nobody…’ Album Review

Hip Hop as a genre is relatively young compared to it’s musical relatives. As a genre gets on its feet the founding fathers and original innovators usually get left behind in obscurity as commercialism, mainstream and social acceptance latch on. This leads to De La Soul, born in the right time this Long Island trio released it’s groundbreaking debut at a time still reminiscent of the unadulterated glory years and also the nascent ascension of a culture into a full-on mainstream product. They dodged being too early and, to their artistically creative culturally true core, missed being too late. This allowed their debut ‘3 Feet High And Rising’ to be as critically acclaimed and respected as it was commercially successful, breaking boundaries in a very dominant boisterous alpha-male environment ‘3 Feet’ cracked open a door for outsiders as being the antithesis to the norm.

Fast forwarded about 30 years and these ‘Anonymous Nobodies’ are still the antithesis to the norm. De La Soul have showcased a new aspect of their multifaceted talent with every release, they have gone from psychedelic, sporadic, resurrected, mature, frustrated, fun, contemplative, dedicated and all the way back to psychedelic. In many ways ‘Nobody’ sounds like ‘3 Feet High & Rising’ has been living a life of it’s own unknown to the listener and has finally come back to the public eye as a grown man years later. Again cracking the door open for outsiders ‘Nobody’ dabbles in Synth Pop, Alternative, Punk, Rock & Roll, B-Boy Hip Hop, and even Orchestral Spoken Word. Evolved beyond a time when sampling Hall & Oats was as unheard of as it was groundbreaking, De La have now literally incorporated the actual current living diverse elements into their brand of Hip Hop. Alternative Synth Pop band Little Dragon appear as the living breathing descendants of a vinyl Hall & Oats sample allowing fans of other genres to dive into this refreshing LP.

The legendary Long Island trio also pull from their own catalog and bag of tricks as well, Atlanta Trap star 2Chainz appears on ‘Whoodeeni” to trade bars with Pos and Dave, a match up as head-scratching as Redman teaming up with the ‘Hippies Of Hip Hop’ almost 20 years earlier- the result is just as amazing! The robot-voice also reappears on a track, Estelle and Pete Rock also add their talents to a track that could easily be a ‘Stakes Is High’ hidden track reupholstered for current day. Due to all their sampling woes the constraint of legalities forced De La to think outside the box (something they have years of experience at) and figure out a way to sample and not have to get caught in another lawsuit -the result they sample themselves! Bringing in a band and having them jam for hours on hours they later go in and flip their own jam sessions with producer Super Dave West. Most De La albums require some sort of indulgence and  conscious aware thought while listening and ‘Nobody’ not only holds up it flies far beyond its predecessor ‘The Grind Date’ as a complete unique piece of art that forces the listener to play catch up while enjoying the complete flowing artistic soundscape that it is. A genius victory lap for one of the genres most slept on legends.


Rating 9.2/10

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