De La Soul have earned their right to be righteous. Over the course of four long-players, the legendary hip-hop trio has steadfastly, respectfully retained its integrity in the all-too-spineless world of hip-hop, one where emcees often happily co-opt their philosophies in order to earn more money. De La, though, have no time for such shenanigans, and on their recent Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump, they spend a large chunk of the record hammering nails into the heads of rough-and-tough emcee wannabes. ³If you've never been shot or stabbed, go, Oooh! Oooh! Oooh!'² they scream on the celebratory indictment ³Oooh.² Such sentiments permeate Mosaic Thump, and the result is a sort of lecture from a bunch of smart guys who have been there and back, have kids and families and have learned how to show respect, speak the truth and have a hell of a good time doing it.Mosaic Thump continues De La Soul's winning streak; they can be serious as hell one minute and slap you with a rhyme that wakes your lame ass up, then turn around and revert to the party-people joy that has characterized all of their work. Whereas most troupes have one personality and milk it for their entire (short-lived) career, De La Soul have remained vital because they can flip from one style and mood to another without it seeming forced or contrived. Also on the bill (in addition to Wyclef Jean) are the Black Eyed Peas, whose fantastic sophomore album, Bridging the Gap, draws inspiration from De La, the Roots and all other hip-hop with as much brain as brawn.
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