Posdnous, Maseo, and Dave, better recognised as De La Soul, have again enkindled the hearts of many hip-hop lovers and music enthusiasts alike – with their first official studio album in 11 long years. The hip-hop forefathers and champions of all things positive in straight-forward consciousness have returned with a detailed record of widely impressive lengths. The project was crowdfunded to the tune somewhere in the $600,000USD range, making it an album of heightening value from the people, for the people. And the Anonymous Nobody is a sprawling dig through band instruments and contemporary collaborative efforts which serve to be both palatable and appropriate.
In order to stay one foot above their accustomed approaches regarding sample based production, the money raised through the Kickstarter campaign has instead flooded into funding musicians and collaborating with artists by devising everything from scratch. When looking at this humbling process, the album’s first listen-to flickers with their unavoidable thirst to create something of an evaluated closeness. The excitement is not near as polished and enthusiastic since their previous work, though the reception in their flow and bearing is entirely sobering. There’s plenty to rap about since the last time they’ve released an album. The lyricism is more of a modest and calm series of experiential stories and heartfelt rap confessions. This is perhaps best touching in conjunction with the band-instrumentals that the record comprises. There’s plenty of mic-spitting collaborators like Snoop Dogg who slams calm bars on Pain, or the equally pacifying notes in Memory of … (US) brought by hip hop legend Pete Rock and the enchanting Estelle – aiding the neo-soul rap duet of potted charm and kinetic melodies. The self-sampling by order of collaborative heads is the album’s most faultless attraction, though. Whether it’s the unlikely combination of new wave icon, David Byrne, with his efforts in Snoopies, or the dramatic bloomings of everyone’s favourite modern pop heroes – Little Dragon. Drawn starts off tame, wth a twisting vine of feathered brisk vocal florals, making way for potent classical piano and heavenly orchestral palpitations. What ensues is a magical formation into a crescendo of sample strokes, somehow managing to hold feelings as if the song is being crafted in front of your eyes, completely on the fly. The lyrics also unfold hidden openness towards the end – “Eye on the prize instead of gas prices/ lyrically wonder why travel past the nices/ Born of a generation that don’t generate patience”.
In essence, De La have against all odds returned with winning flush and mixtures of charismatic, convinced actuality. And The Anonymous Nobody is rather a collective of boundary pushing momentum, giving a nod to their past by simultaneously unlocking their futuristic hip hop souls. The standards and crafted results on the record serve as a sonic virtue, gifted and presented to the fans that have been there from the start, and all the new ones that will continue to stay.