The full De La Soul catalog is out now, but I’m writing this before I can press play, so I’ve basically got The Grind Date on repeat (again).
Context: The Grind Date came out after the second-round chips on shoulder vibes of (the two) Art Official Intelligence albums (more on those in a future post). I see this record as their post-comeback official journeymen acceptance speech. It’s when they no longer felt any need to prove themselves to others and instead re-upped on re-proving their worth to themselves.
That’s sort of the feeling I always got from this record at least. It is self-respectfully good.
“Shopping Bags” is a suburban banger, and “Rock Co.Kane Flow” is still one of my favorite MF DOOM features. It’s about where they are in life and flexing on still being really good at being De La Soul.
But it’s especially in the everyday success + not losing “that thing” where I love who they are when they made this album.
From the intro to the song, “The Grind Date,”
I mean, my dad’s got five kids, man and I mean yo
He hates drivin’ a bus but he loves five kids
You feel me?
Yes. We feel you.
Dave’s verse – RIP – you can just feel this in your bones. Read this slowly, it’s worth it:
Yo f*** a rhyme artist, I ain’t here for that
I was born with the boom bap, respect the name
My hands on experience was hands on my first contract
Taught me quick how to respect the game
Introduced to the block, got used to the block
But your neighbors be the ones who throw s*** on your lawn
It’s like every single time we pop, they got annoyed
But we got ahead, and we got along
And puttin’ work on the calendars, worse on them calendars
Worth of hump days that broke the camel’s back
The grind’ll make today look gray
And paint a tainted picture of tomorrows in enamel black
Meet the rhyme, street grind, son whatever the beast
I’m a take it at the horns till the pinky toe torn
And show you why we here this long
Cause when it comes to puttin’ in work
Once again it’s on