De La Soul

De La Soul

Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump

Tommy Boy

The first time I saw De La Soul was at UCSD's RIMAC Arena during the Sun God Festival. As soon as the act before the band finished their last song, the crowd rushed forward in anticipation of seeing De La up close. Needless to say, they rocked the house with old-school songs like “Me, Myself, and I” that had the crowd undulating like a sea of teeny-boppers at a Christina Aguilera concert.

Their latest release and fifth album in thirteen years, Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump, is no different–it will get your head bobbin' and feet moving. This time around, however, the three boys from Long Island have created the first of a three-part album release that combines their smooth, pass-the-mic rhyme style with infectious bass lines and lyrics worth pondering. These witty old-schoolers remind the current “gangsta rappers” who hip-hop's true innovators are.

With tracks featuring artists such as the Beastie Boys, Busta Rhymes, Chaka Khan, Xzibit, and the Alkaholiks, Art Official Intelligence is truly a musical mosaic that combines the three Plugs with other current top performers. The lead single “Oooh” features Redman and is already being bumped in clubs and played on radio stations across the country.

The best thing about this album, though, is the way Pos, Dave, and Maseo pass their “intelligence” on to their listeners: it's not preachy or too serious to enjoy–instead, they have fun with it, and that's what De La fans have come to love and expect.–Ben Instone