Music » Music Stories

De La Soul

The Grind Date (Sanctuary)

by

comment
If LL Cool J's most recent album seemed to prove hip-hop wouldn't allow its veteran stars to age gracefully, this is the rebuttal. Largely MIA since 2001, De La Soul has still seen growth to its reputation as patron saint of the burgeoning hip-hop underground. So get past the first couple of tracks on The Grind Date, whose anger at the way the game is now being played -- "Y'all care anymore about this hip-hop, man?" asks "Much More" -- leads to an uncharacteristic spray of cuss words. The majority of the Long Island trio's seventh album is a more dignified -- and entertaining -- rebuke of the crassness that now dominates the mainstream.

Fittingly, the underground that De La helped nurture all those years returns the favor on The Grind Date. Producers like Jay Dee, 9th Wonder and Madlib, who oversaw the clattering, anti-materialistic first single "Shopping Carts," provide the group with left-of-center beats to match the thoughtful meditations on hip-hop culture and De La's place in it. "No disrespect to Diddy," remarks "Come on Down" good-naturedly, "Just settin' it straight." What's missing, unsurprisingly, is the spark of genius that originally made the group great. But The Grind Date shows De La Soul is far from ground down.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.