De La Soul

The Grind Date

De La Soul has released its first album since being dropped by Tommy Boy, the band’s label for the last 15 years. One wants to throw love at De La Soul—easily one of the best hip-hop acts of all time—but this album fails to seduce the listener. Uncharacteristically full of cursing, Grind is angrier than any past De La disc. It’s not surprising, but it’s also not De La’s forte. With the anger comes desperation. For example, “Come On Down” (with guest Flava Flav) contains a diatribe on what counts as success: sticking around. Guys, don’t tell us why you count. Just keep counting. The music starts great at the top of each track, but then it just grinds on without the complex dynamics of days past, especially the glory days with producer Prince Paul. I miss the artsy-fartsy, fun but utterly sincere De La Soul.