Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Slept On: De La Soul Is Alive? (AOI: Bionix)

[Hippo Update: Sorry for the fact that I’ve been sleeping on putting up my “Slept On” posts as often as I should. I’ve had this one written and in the vault for almost 2 months now (not at Tupac’s level yet). Finally getting settled in to the new digs and will hopefully get things back on track.]

Apparently not with the sales of Bionix, De La Soul’s 6th full length effort (longevity in hip-hop baby!), hovering so low that Tommy Boy Records eventually closed up shop. Of course it wasn’t all based on the sales of Bionix, but you get the point…they was low & De La was out in the cold. I could never understand why this album never got it’s due. I mean it doesn’t compare, especially lyrically, to De La’s first 4 albums, but come on. How you out do due 3 Feet High & Rising (changed the sound of hip-hop forever. Went from sampling James Brown to Hall & Oats and lyrically went from the streets to the ‘burbs, making it cool to be yourself), then De La Soul Is Dead (they officially killed their public image of being soft with a big F*CK YOU, THIS IS US album), Buhloone Mindstate (their Paul’s Boutique. No one dug it when it came out, but after years passed, it may be considered their best. Jazz influenced sounds with abstract poetry at its best), and finally Stakes Is High (De La pissed off for not being recognized for Buhloone as well as venting about the Puff Daddy era. Reinvent themselves again and go underground, bringing exposure to Mos Def and reinstating the Native Tongues even stronger – with Mos & Common as welcome additions.). I mean come on, if you still don’t get it, its like Kobe Bryant’s career – 3 championships in a row, 81 points in a game, consensus All-NBA 1st team selection every year…what else can you do to top that? Just don’t go to Colorado.

So then De La came with what I consider their weakest effort to date, Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump. That to me was their most commercial effort, with plenty of cameos and even production from Rockwilder. Remember the catchy “Oooh” & the Grammy nod? So I was a little worried after this dropped when I found out that this was just the first in three albums under the AOI banner. Thankfully, it didn’t end up that way.

Bionix was De La getting back to form to me. Out of 18 tracks I only have to skip over 1 or 2 tracks (not counting the interludes/skits). I mean “Baby Phat” just sucks. The concept is cool, but I don’t think they executed as well as they could have. I mean come on, remember the “Stakes Is High” lyrics? So I’m not being hard on them. And unfortunately this was the first single the released off the album (I don’t know why, other than they thought it would follow up with its catchiness to the success of “Oooh” and “All Good”). Maybe that’s what turned a lot of people off to picking up the album. Cause the rest of the sh*t is just ill. They may have dumb-downed their lyrics ever since the first AOI, but they get a lot more intimate and introspective (De La’s the best at this) on this go around. To me, this album goes right up there with their first 4 classics (The Grind Date, their 7th album, was pretty damn good too). So pick up the album and don’t forget to get your 3 Ft. High kicks.

[MP3] De La Soul :: Watch Out
{Damn, the first time I heard the original break for this, included below, I knew it would make a dope beat. Thankfully, it landed in De La’s court.}

[MP3] Cal Tjader :: Cubano Chant
[MP3] De La Soul :: Peer Pressure

{J. Dilla on production. With B-Real helping out, they make a hip-hop first, a weed song that presents both sides of the argument. Maybe the first song in any genre. They do it flawlessly, as Posdnous is a convincing 40+ year old who’s never puffed before.

[MP3] De La Soul :: Trying People

{Some people didn’t like this cause they thought it was too simplistic. But that’s where I find it’s beauty. Maybe I’m just a sap, but to me they come clean & honest with themselves and their faults. A hip-hop rarity. A precursor to emo-hop.}

For you Exclusive Heads, I’ve included a couple new De La tracks off their new (well not that 'new' anymore) 'mixtape', The Impossible Mission:

[MP3] De La Soul :: Wasn't for You
[MP3] De La Soul :: Freedom Train

Yogurt site

This is for the homeboy asking for more on the Native Tongues. Plug into the “guys on that Gorillaz track”.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's another version of Wasn't For You on the 2nd Handsome Boy Modeling School album. I think the beat on that version is better than the one on Impossible Mission.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Mista Hippo said...

Thanks. I'll have to dig it up.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Mista Hippo said...

I actually like the newer version's beat better. To each his own I guess.

12:29 AM  

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