De La Soul

Buhloone Mindstate

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    7
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The last album of De La Soul's creative prime, Buhloone Mindstate was also their last with producer Prince Paul. After the claustrophobic De La Soul Is Dead, Mindstate is a partial return to the upbeat positivity of 3 Feet High and Rising, though not its wildly colorful invention. Instead, Buhloone Mindstate takes a calmer, more laid-back approach -- the music is often more introspective, and the between-song skits have been jettisoned in favor of a tighter focus. The surrealism of Buhloone Mindstate's predecessors has largely evaporated, and the production, while still imaginative, doesn't quite dazzle the way it used to. Then again, it's admirable that the group is trying to mature and progress musically, and they would never experiment quite this ambitiously again. There's quite a bit more live instrumentation here, with extensive, jazzy guest work by the JB Horns. In fact, the guests threaten to overpower the first half of the album; "Patti Dooke" and "I Be Blowin'" are both extended showcases for the horns, and the latter is a full-fledged instrumental led by Maceo Parker. They're followed by a group of Japanese rappers on "Long Island Wildin'," and it isn't until the terrific single "Ego Trippin', Pt. 2" that De La really takes over. Many of the record's best raps follow: the reflective old-school tribute "Breakadawn," the jazzy "I Am I Be" and "In the Woods," and the Biz Markie collaboration "Stone Age." If Buhloone Mindstate is a great deal more straightforward than De La's earlier work, its high points are still excellent and well worth the time of any fan. In fact, many De La diehards feel that this album is hugely underrated.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 0:52
2 2:27
3 3:15
4
feat: Guru
5:54
5
feat: Maceo Parker
4:58
6
feat: Takagi Kan / SDP
1:30
7 3:52
8 0:43
9 2:39
10 3:31
11 5:03
12 4:03
13 4:15
14 0:55
15
feat: Biz Markie
4:13
blue highlight denotes track pick