De La Soul The Grind Date

De La Soul The Grind Date

The fall of Tommy Boy and momentary unavailability of the De La’s entire catalogue may not have embittered these old timers — Dave says as much on the album’s title track — but something has definitely lit a fire under De La Soul. Now seven albums and nearly 16 years deep in an industry that chews people up and spits them out with alarming frequency, DLS have pretty much seen it all, including the rise and fall of virtually every member of their Native Tongues family. Yet, through it all, these "Strong Island” brothers have remained a lesson in consistency, their latest opus being no exception. The Grind Date sees a definite shift in focus from that of the (now derailed) AOI trilogy, with the group clearly intent on letting people know exactly why they’re still here. On "Verbal Clap,” De La extend an open beat-for-beat, rhyme-for-rhyme challenge to any who would question their continued potency, before politely reminding Diddy on "Come On Down” that they invented the remix back in ’88. Dropping by to show their respect and lend a helping hand in the proceedings are Common, Ghostface (who keeps it uncharacteristically pretty on "He Comes”), and even crazy-ass Flava Flav, who giddily announces that "De La Soul have done it again.” But the most poignant statement as to the groups seriousness on this record is the absence of the usual positive-new-tomorrow type album closer, replaced instead by the monstrous, mosaic thump of "Rock Co.Kane Flow,” held down by none other than the "mad villain” MF Doom. Flava Flav hit it right on the head. (Sanctuary)