Fittingly, the underground that De La helped nurture all those years returns the favor on The Grind Date. Producers like Jay Dee, 9th Wonder and Madlib, who oversaw the clattering, anti-materialistic first single "Shopping Carts," provide the group with left-of-center beats to match the thoughtful meditations on hip-hop culture and De La's place in it. "No disrespect to Diddy," remarks "Come on Down" good-naturedly, "Just settin' it straight." What's missing, unsurprisingly, is the spark of genius that originally made the group great. But The Grind Date shows De La Soul is far from ground down.
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