Released August 26, 2016
- Genesis featuring Jill Scott
- Royalty Capes
- Pain featuring Snoop Dogg
- Property of Spitkicker.com featuring Roc Marciano
- Memory of.. (US) featuring Estelle & Pete Rock
- Lord Intended featuring Justin Hawkins
- Snoopies featuring David Byrne
- Grayhounds featuring Usher
- Sexy Bitch
- Drawn featuring Little Dragon
- Whoodeeni featuring 2 Chainz
- Nosed Up
- You Go Dave (A Goldblatt Presentation)
- Here in After featuring Damon Albarn
De La Soul turned to Kickstarter to crowd-fund their album last year. In less than a day, they met their desired goal. After a delay, the album was released back in August of this year. When the campaign began, I remember they released a song called God It featuring Nas “as an indication of good music to come.” Suffice it to say, I loved this song. It was on repeat for quite a while after its release, and I kept revisiting it throughout 2015.
As an indication of good music to come, I was fully committed to more of this. The original release date for the album was April 29, 2016. They announced they had to delay the release, but instead, they released an EP called For Your Pain & Suffering. At the time, the only song I liked was Beautiful Night. But it was only four songs long, so I figured this was quickly thrown together to tide people over before the album.
In retrospect, I should’ve paid attention to the EP. On my initial listen, I was conflicted. I had only enjoyed roughly half the album. The other half made me feel disappointed. Consider me a prisoner of my own doing; I thought the album would be more God It and Beautiful Night type of song. It wasn’t a complete disappointment. The songs that were straight hip-hop or sounded something close to it I enjoyed. When the group got away from hip-hop, I wasn’t with it. It’s a good policy to give projects multiple listens.
After a few days away, I came back to listen to the album again. Something clicked. I found myself nodding my head to the songs I previously disliked. The album sounded more textured, and the group’s craft began to shine through. ATAN became well-rounded and a complete work rather than a half-step. My infatuation with what the album wasn’t blinded me to what the album is; De La Soul released one of the year’s best albums.
Everything is intentional and effective. From collaborating with David Byrne on Snoopies for one of the best songs on the album to motivating 2Chainz to be the best feature on the album. The hard-left turns in musicality and tone provide exciting moments with no lull in the experience. De La ventures into multiple music genres, extracting what they need and creating its best blend while maintaining its own identity.
Out of curiosity, I listened to For Your Pain & Suffering. The same thing happened. That sounded richer and more expansive than I had initially thought. De La has been creating good music for the past few years for this album.
I should’ve paid attention to the EP. I would’ve seen this coming.