Put your hands up if you’ve been been waiting over a decade for De La Soul to deliver the new album fans excitedly starting funding last year. Keep them up if your expectations of how and the Anonymous Nobody would sound, have been building up during those years.
Well put ’em down. Cause expectations of music and in life generally, will only set you up for disappointment. And naturally the De La Soul music you know and loved so long ago is very different to the music delivered by the trio in 2016 on and the Anonymous Nobody.
Heavy sampling has been replaced by the warm sounds of live instrumentalists with chops of gold. Skits are few and far between. And only a handful of the album’s 18 songs feature Posdnous, Maseo and Dave spitting rhymes front and centre.
This creation has a huge and diverse cast of contributors writing, producing, mixing, engineering, singing, rapping and playing on it. The results on many tracks are successful; on others, not. Hearing the album in its entirety feels like every so often someone’s gone and changed the radio station on you. Sometimes your happy to stay there; but occasionally you wanna scream at that person to change it back.
Those wanting De La Soul music reminiscent of yesteryear will find some satisfaction – most likely in songs like “Property of Spitkicker.com” (featuring Roc Marciano), “Pain” (featuring Snoop Dogg), “CBGB’s”, “Sexy Bitch” and “Trainwreck”. They’ll also likely appreciate that long-time De La collaborator Bob Power mixes some tracks.
Folks with broader tastes in music will probably find greater happiness amongst the smorgasbord of sounds. It might come from the guitar-heavy song “Lord Intended” – proclaimed vocally by Justin Hawkins (The Darkness) as “the hardest rock shit you gonna hear”, a grand statement that just ain’t quite right. Or maybe it’ll be found in the dreamy song “Drawn” – a killer collaboration between De La Soul and Sweden’s Little Dragon. Fans of Jill Scott talkin’ Love will certainly find themselves some extra goodness. Unfortunately even those with the broadest of musical taste might feel the same pain as me when the and the Anonymous Nobody radio-shuffle lands on a commercial station for five very long minutes with Usher singing “Greyhounds”.
But importantly, peeps like me who revere and cherish the sounds of funk will still thank De La Soul for helping to keep them alive in 2016. They’ll understand and especially appreciate this here song “Nosed Up”.
“Nosed Up” – and the Anonymous Nobody
“Royalty Capes” – and the Anonymous Nobody
No matter what your experience when hearing and the Anonymous Nobody; whether you want to skip one, none or lots of its tracks, I’m sure of two things. That we should be forever thankful for De La Soul and all the music they’ve ever created for our listening and dancing pleasure. And with a killer band of instrumentalists now in tow, the most sublime of De La Soul experiences in 2016 will be found at a live show.