De La Soul "and the Anonymous Nobody" (A.O.I. Records)
Twenty-five years after releasing the mercurial classic "De La Soul is Dead," the Strong Island trio of Pos, Dave and Maseo return with ".and the Anonymous Nobody" — a modern treatise of anti-establishment hip-hop.
For their first full-length album in 11 years, they used hundreds of hours of live music played with session musicians as a sample bank — and you can feel the analog warmth.
The musical styles are all over the place. "Lord Intended" could be an early Rick Rubin production before The Darkness' Justin Hawkins spirals into the abyss. It's a long way from Pete Rock's beat knock "Memory of." and the slurred funk of "Sexy Bitch."
At the same time, the ill flows are constantly in flux. Roc Marciano has a tongue that's "forever under the weather." On "Trainwreck," Pos' word association could go on for days. They all embody guest 2 Chainz controlled tenacity: "When I'm in the booth, I'm MJ with his tongue out." During the lush intro, Jill Scott encapsulates, "The sky takes notes when we speak."
The project was self-released and Kickstarter-funded, and even with all the guests (Damon Albarn, David Byrne, Snoop Dogg and Usher) this is really a De La thing. Late in the album Dave sings, "We're still here now."
De La Soul is alive. And well.