STILL RISING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. 2020 pressing of The Grind Date on double black vinyl with bonus track "Shoomp" featuring Sean Paul! Our vintage Lab review - I'll be honest: I'm a huge De La Soul fan. These guys are the main reason I fell in love with hip-hop. But the two Art Official Intelligence albums just didn't do it for me (or pretty much anybody else); they felt too calculated, lacking the spontaneity of their previous LPs, not to mention laden with some questionable production. With The Grind Date, I regret ever doubting them. As their seventh studio album, this is also their most consistent and satisfying effort in recent years. Give ample credit off the bat to their production team which includes themselves along with Supa Dave West, J Dilla, Madlib, 9th Wonder and Jake One - there's nary a flat track on here. From the ridiculous, tempo-shifting sickness of "Rock Co.Kane" to the pumped up funk slaps of "Verbal Claps," and the uplifting energy of "Church," De La leaps into The Grind Date with a renewed vigor. There's just a tad too much "give us our props, we're pioneers!" on songs like "The Future," but hell, few have earned the right as much as these three. Neither cloyingly commercial nor stubbornly underground, De La moves with a forward vision and leave the preachiness of past efforts out of it. Instead, songs like "Church," "The Grind Date," and "It's Like That" reflect the crew's mature perspectives on life and struggles. But just in case heads need to be thrown, they'll still hit with straight missiles on "Days of Our Lives" (feat. Common), and "No." Other guests include MF DOOM "Rock Co.Kane," and Ghostface for "He Comes," but this is still the De La Show, front and center. Includes previously unreleased bonus instrumentals, recommended.
- production by J Dilla, Madlib, Supa Dave West, 9th Wonder + more
- features bonus cut "Shoomp" feat. Sean Paul
- previously unreleased bonus instrumentals
- music label: Sanctuary Records 2004 / 2020
reviewed by O-Dub 11/2004