De La Soul: “and the Anonymous Nobody…”

Rap group releases energetic album after 12-year wait

De La Soul | Facebook

De La Soul | Facebook

Well over 20 years into their careers and 12 years since their last full-length album, rap group De La Soul released their ninth studio album “and the Anonymous Nobody…,” which was funded on Kickstarter in 2015. With this new record, De La Soul continues to prove that they can still bring plenty of energy and the sheer enjoyment the way they’ve done it since their hay-day. Yet, what De La Soul offered is also much more experimental than anyone would have expected, touching upon different genres and styles entirely, drawing from the smooth ‘90s styled hip hop of “Pain” to the blues rock-inspired “CBGBs.”

De La Soul also brings in a cavalcade of guest artists along for the ride from well known acts and frequent collaborators like Snoop Dogg and Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz), to the lesser known artists like Justin Hawkins, the lead singer of The Darkness.

De La Soul plays well in blending with the established sounds of nearly all of their guest artists, like the skittish and quirky “Snoopies” with Talking Heads front man David Byrne, or the bubbly electronica track “Drawn”, with help from Swedish electronica band Little Dragon. While these ever-changing styles and genres can serve to make this album a bit messy, De La Soul prove talented and charismatic enough to not be left behind in the mess.

With this album being their latest endeavor in De La Soul’s over 20-year legacy, you can expect themes of growing old in the ever-changing rap scene. Songs like “Whoodeeni” and “Snoopies” talk about De La Soul’s increasing irrelevance and anonymity within the scene (hence the title of the album).  Songs like “Memory of…(US)”, and “Greyhound” go even further in this mold, with the former dealing with trying to rekindle and old flame with a former lover and the latter discussing the stories of people looking to gain relevance by moving to a new place. However, the mood eventually shifts to something that is both melancholic and uplifting, as the final two songs “Here In After” and “Exodus” show the group’s acceptance with their title as “anonymous”, yet go to appreciate and honor the people keeping hip hop and rap alive.