De La Soul

Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump

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De La Soul came storming back after four years of recording inactivity -- and practically a decade out of the hip-hop limelight -- with a promise to release three full albums in a series they dubbed Art Official Intelligence. From the first volume, Mosaic Thump, it's clear that despite laudable ambitions, comeback albums should be focused and lean, not as flabby as this one. Unfortunately, the trio of Posdnuos, PA Mase, and Dave (formerly Trugoy the Dove) fall into the same trap they did on 1991's De La Soul Is Dead; an inventive, intelligent group attempts to prove themselves flexible enough to survive in a changing music world, and subsequently loses most of their appeal in the process. Mosaic Thump begins with "U Can Do (Life)," a surprisingly weak attempt at hip-hop soul. Posdnuos' raps are occasionally thoughtful and clever, but he seems obsessed with being as hardcore as DMX or Jay-Z. Aside from a few solid productions by outsiders (Ad Lib's "My Writes," Jaydee's "Thru Ya City," Rockwilder's "I.C. Y'All." with Busta Rhymes), most of Mosaic Thump was produced by De La Soul themselves, and the music is just as limpid and flat as the rapping.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
2 4:23
feat: Tash / Xzibit
4 5:24
5 3:29
feat: Busta Rhymes
7 4:18
8 4:23
feat: Chaka Khan
10 2:56
feat: Ad-Rock / Mike D
12 1:01
13 4:50
14 4:06
15 4:22
16 3:48
17 4:13
blue highlight denotes track pick