De La Soul - The Grind Date      
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written by Christopher “Scav” Yuscavage    
Hip-hop music is a drug, or at least that is what De La Soul will attest to. And as the trio of the long-running De La Soul group will also attest to – no one knows how to keep hustling and grinding out the music quite like they do.

With now their seventh studio album, “The Grind Date,” De La Soul isn’t surprising anyone because they are triplets of the old school sound still surviving amongst a bunch of youngsters. They are surprising everyone because those same youngsters could learn a thing or two from Posdnuos, Truguoy, and Maceo about consistency, longevity, and reclaiming the throne.

“The Grind Date,” released on Urban Sanctuary Records, represents De La’s excursion back into the world of independent hip-hop music, a place where a sure-fire radio hit isn’t a requirement for a solid album and good music overpowers light, poppy, softer-than-cotton-candy tracks. And, for once, a hip-hop group seems perfectly content, and as a result successful, because of that atmosphere.

“The Future,” where the boys themselves proclaim, “We are the past…we are the present…we are the future,” sets a high standard for the group that they thankfully do overcome. The hard-hitting and tenacious “Verbal Clap” and “Much More,” where the trio questions how far other rappers go for a piece of fame and fortune, highlight a stand-out lineup of opening tracks that hit with a hunger not always in place within other rappers that have run their course through hip-hop.

Ever wonder what hip-hop would be like without De La Soul? Apparently, sort of like New York without the Yanks, Slick Rick without the eye patch, and bedtime without PJs, the three imagine on “It’s Like That,” which features the slick crooning of Bad Boy’s Carl Thomas (one of a number of guests, including Ghostface, Common, and Flava Flav).

Whether grinding it out even further on the title track, “The Grind Date,” or going hard at the Fendi, Prada, and Gucci gold-diggers of the world on “Shopping Bags,” De La Soul have not just aged well within their career – they have damn near captured the coveted fountain of youth that so many old-timers long after and desire.

Probably the album’s most addictive cut though (and rightfully so, just check out that title!) is the MF Doom-assisted “Rock Co.Kane Flow” with an absolutely pounding and raw (excuse the pun) beat that rounds out an equally hard-hitting agenda from the Soul trio.

With so many old-timers bowing out gracefully from the hip-hop hustle and many of the rookies only focused on rapping about hustling, De La Soul is back again with more of that addictive street corner goodness – the stuff that only comes out on the first of the month.

So if you are looking to hustle the freshest drug out on the streets right now – the stuff that will sell to the whites, the blacks, the Hispanic, young, old, and everyone in between – De La Soul has got the solution: “The Grind Date.” The music is a drug again.

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