James Bernard
October 08, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Buhloone Mindstate

Current Status
In Season
Tommy Boy

We gave it an A+

Ignore the title of their last album, De La Soul Is Dead. They were just confused. After dropping what still stands as the most left-field, inventive debut in music’s most inventive genre, the trio felt misunderstood and mislabeled as hippie pop stars. Dead wasn’t a bad album, just sprawling and unfocused. On Buhloone Mindstate (Tommy Boy), we find a more firmly rooted De La Soul. They’re no longer wide-eyed reformers with something to prove. Now they’re among rap’s elder statesmen, and they know it. Giving props to the Old School, they survey today’s rap scene and see too many fake gangsters. As one of the rappers says about himself, ”F— being hard, Posdnuos is complicated.”

Unhampered by the countless skits that the group laced between the songs of their previous albums, Buhloone is more economical—its beats are simple, but the tracks are alive with intricate layering and small touches that make them undeniably catchy: soul samples and jazzy notes over rolling bass lines. A funky smooth ride. A+

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