Five Best Songs From De La Soul’s ‘The Grind Date’ Album
Dating back to the trio's debut in the late '80s, De La Soul has long been considered one of the most innovative rap groups in hip-hop history.
Comprised of members Posdnuos, Dave (Trugoy) and Maseo, the Long Island trio are nothing short of legends and trendsetters in the hip-hop community after bursting on the scene with their '88 debut, 'Three Feet High and Rising.' Playing a key role in popularizing the usage of skits in rap and helping introduce a more every-man aspect to the culture as part of the Native Tongues collective, the group is near the top of the list when mentioning influential rap groups.
We all know rap to be a sport of the young, but with the passage of time, De La has become a little long in the tooth, yet have managed to still produce high quality hip-hop til this day. In 2004, they released their seventh album, titled 'The Grind Date,' on BMG Records. The release was not without controversy, with BET allegedly refusing to give airtime to the album's lead single, 'Shopping Bags' because, in their words, it didn't fit with the network's demographic and wouldn't appeal to the vast majority of hip-hop fans.
While 'The Grind Date' album was not much of a commercial success, it was well-received and a testament to De La's rep as one of the most prolific rap groups of all-time. The vets didn't disappoint on the mic and the production was stellar, with a team of boardsmen including Super Dave West, Madlib and then newcomer Jake One. To celebrate its 10-year anniversary on Oct. 5, we present the five all-around best tracks from the LP.
De La opens up 'Grind Date' with the jubilant 'The Future.' Produced by Super Dave West and featuring the sweet sound of crackling vynyl, Pos and Dave show that father time has not stripped them of any skills. "I jump back put the aim on my shot / It's mandatory, hand the glory over with the rock / I'm not a rough guy, but a tough guy to beat over drums / No son to this, I'ma rhyme bastard," Pos raps, showing no signs of rust. Dave sends shouts to Native Tongues fam like Chi Ali with lines like, "So, I'd like to take the time to shout out the J-B's / Next on the list is A Tribe Called Quest / Latifah, my queen, Monie Love, Dres and Mr. Lawnge / Chi Ali, hold your head, God bless." A thumper of a beat with heavenly drums a delightful futuristic hook and dope rhymes from Plug 1 and Plug 2, what more could you ask for?
'He Comes' sees Ghostface Killah joining the proceedings atop a Supa Dave West production. Powered by a sample of Eugene Record's 'Here Comes the Sun and glorious trumpets,' all three MCs do the soulful track justice with superb verses. Ghostface Killah takes the track all the way home with his standout appearance, spitting "Tony Tana with big hammers for big manners, who got 'em / We kiss cannons,for Scrangelous crew, and his whack dancers / Bitin' is forbidden pah, pay that tax / And don't you ever look at us funny -- boy, we'll bring rap back." A song featuring Plug One, Plug Two and GFK would look good even on paper, but on wax, the outcome more than satisfies and makes for a memorable cut.
Legendary Public Enemy hype-man Flava Fav pops up on the frantic 'Come On Down.' Flav handles the adlib and hook duties in grand fashion, giving the track his patented energy and taking the song next level. While Pos is his usual heady self on the mic, Dave goes particularly ham with lines like, "Tou dudes fiddle while we stay on the cello / Mush in ya room, son, we stay portobello / Can't settle for the same picket white fence, I got dreams of barbed wire turned to factories, pa / Still push the truck with the factories, pa / I'm bound to wreck the whip and turn insurance out, make 'em shout." Madlib works his magic behind the boards, implementing everything from handclaps to frantic snares and kicks for this audio jamboree. With a jittery soundbed for the Long Island reps to dismantle appropriately, they rise to the occasion and more. Pandemonium has never sounded so sweet
Supa Dave West mans the boards on the sunny 'No' featuring Butta Verses and Yummy Bingham. Featuring delightful keys and quotables galore Pos, Dave and Butta flip monkey bars off one another with ease. Yummy's indelible vocals on the hook is the icing on the cake and adds to the tracks vibrant feel. 'No' is added evidence that the De La could still dish out elite flows with the best of them, even a decade-and-a-half deep in the game.
De La Soul connects with MF Doom on the brooding 'Rock Co.Kane Flow.' While Pos and Maseo both impress, the masked producer-MC steals the show with zany lines like "From the top of the key, for three, villain / Been on in the game as long as he could wheelie a Shwinn / Turned the corner spinning, bust that ass and get up / Dust off the mask and give him a headup" and quips about battling for Atari game cartridges. Producer Jake One provides the checkmate with his monster of a track, featuring murderous snares and haunting wails from a choir and the result is nothing but amazing. 'Rock Co Kane Flow' is surely addictive as its name would suggest and adds another banger to their storied catalog.