Streaming Consciously: The Return Of De La Soul...Is 12 The New Magic Number?
12 years feels like a long damn time.
12 years is over 25% of the time in the complete recorded history of rap music.
12 years is nearly half of a quarter century, while it’s now been just over a quarter century since De La Soul debuted with a little tune called “Plug Tunin”.
12 years with no new music from Mase, Pos and Dave.
12 years is three times as long as the four years it took for Twitter to nearly explode while waiting for Frank Ocean’s album.
12 months ago, we had four more longtime friends than we do today.
12 years ago, we flew from PHL to LAX in a move to the City of Angels.
12 years later, under the guidance of a few new angels, we drove all the way back.
12 months ago, if you asked our occupation we’d reply “Senior Technical Recruiter”.
12 months later, we simply say “Writer”.
12 hours ago, we finally copped a new De La Soul album at Best Buy, 12 years after buying the last one at a Tower Records.
12 listens in, we’re supposed to have a fully formulated opinion on this record’s merits, on record for all posterity?
Sure we could talk about the hard-earned wisdom and survivor’s remorse involved in a song featuring Snoop Dogg about how “Pain gon' make it better” (De La’s best single since 2000’s “Oooh”)…or the latest fire 2Chainz verse on “Whoodeini”…maybe we could mention that irresistible David Byrne-assisted chorus on “Snoopies” which thematically feels like a reversal of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” while also recalling his own “Nothing But Flowers” from back in the Talking Heads’ heyday…we can only begin to wonder why in the world they left the previously leaked and brilliant “Schoolyard Studios” off of here…perhaps we could mention the smile that the scat-singing at the end of “Nosed Up” and that the skit immediately following it fondly reminds us of the now long-gone Prince Paul/De La era...we might even discuss how the 1991 lawsuit again Biz Markie set the wheels in motion to try and choke out hip-hop's sampling creativity that made sonic collage masterpiece albums like 3 Feet High and Rising or It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back possible in late 80's rap, while this album functions as an aural response to all that.
But Nah, Dude.
We Got 12 Years Of Catching Up To Do.
So we’re gonna instead scramble away from that fool’s errand after 12 lines starting with 12, much like #12 in Kelly Green used to do to his frustrated chasing defenders.
Check back with us after at least 12 more days, if not 12 more months, although we promise it won’t take 12 more years.
Once upon time...3 used to be the magic number.
After 12 years, we can’t tell you yet whether that's changed or not.
All we can do is tell these 3 Plugs, Welcome Home.
Good to have you back, fellas.
Glad you're still here.
Hope it’s not another 12 before we hear from y’all again.
With Sincerely Large Amounts Of Love,
An Anonymous Nobody Some Of His Friends Call Bomb