Album Track Listing
Release Date: 4 October 2004
By: Wendy Ragiste
1. Much More
2. The Grind Date
3. Shopping Bags (She Got From You)
6. It's Like That
7. Rock Co. Cane Flow
8. He Comes
9. Verbal Clap
10.Come On Down
11. Days Of Our Lives
12. The Future
Kweli - The Beautiful Struggle
Few hip-hop artists can claim longevity, but with 15 years in the business, De La Soul are certainly earning their place in the rap hall of fame. For those old enough to remember the glory days of high tops and shell suits, De La Soul were dissidents to the hip-hop establishment. They revolutionised the composition of tracks and will forever be seen as innovators who broke the mould. I came to their latest album, ‘The Grind Date’, with expectations.
From the outset there’s no mincing of words. ‘Verbal Clap’ sees them berating fellow rappers saying, ‘Stop frownin’ like you hostile/ You know it’s a booger rubbin’ up against a nostril n*gga.’ This image is a little too vivid to be teamed up against references to food. The phrase sticks in the mind like an unwelcome relative at a family barbeque.
For the younger generation, coming to De La Soul at this
late stage in their career, the group will stand out less than they did
in the past. ‘Much More’ refers to rap rivals as ‘microwave
popcorn a** n*ggas’, instructing us to ‘value longevity’.
I fear that they may need to show young hip-hop heads more in order to
secure their crown.
On first hearing the album, I concluded that it was less subtle than their earlier work, which was artistic in its simplicity and quirkiness, and courageous in its direction. When the lyric wasn’t strong, the tune or story held it up in instantly recognisable style.
Listening to the title track, I am willing to believe that the repetitive beat is symbolic of life’s grinding struggle. Having read the lyrics, it seems that there was good stuff drowning in ‘The Grind Date’. They’re not just rapping about ‘b*tches an’ hoes’. ‘Days Of Our Lives’ featuring Common, perhaps, states their good intentions most clearly, ‘…They givin’ n*ggaz inches/Takin’ miles and mules, it's the wildest rules/ I'm tryin to walk in the black scent of proudest shoes/ Makin’ music that the crowds can use’.
For all my criticisms however, I’m keeping the faith. A lot of the new stuff has an endearing playground feel and inspires memories of kids double-dutching. In ‘No’, the different elements melt nicely to create an engaging mix and in ‘It’s Like That’ featuring Carl Thomas and ‘He Comes’, soulful interludes slide nicely into the rap verses. I think that this latest resurrection is just in the nursery stages and that there’s better stuff to come from these cheeky Amityville boys.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Top 3 tracks
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