There’s a scene in Ocean’s Thirteen where Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan explain to a colleague why they’re heist job is stuck. The last time they were in Vegas, it was a lot easier to loot a casino for all its worth but a lot changed in six years. Once rudimentary security systems had become highly advanced, relying more on algorithms and data rather than just cameras and security guards. The game changed and Danny and Rusty needed to change with it. De La Soul finds themselves in a similar situation with their latest release, and the Anonymous Nobody, a Kickstarter album that the public can finally hear.
After asking for $110K from fans, the million dollar album is money well spent. Making good albums is what De La has done for 30 years so their latest being dope is about as shocking as an ant losing a fight with a boot. What is surprising is 2 Chainz (“Whoodeeni”) makes an appearance and it doesn’t sound out of place or forced. Or the fact that Usher shows up (“Greyhounds“) and one realizes this is something that should always happen. Usher and De La Soul should make every song together from now until the end of time. It’s a testament to the group’s evolution and ability to adapt every decade to whatever the young cats are doing and putting their spin on it. The irony is they were singing…well, rapping, quite the different tune 20 year ago.
On 1996’s Stakes Is High, the Long Island trio balked at what the game had become and where they saw it coming. They were angry and way beyond consoling As much as I love title track, it’s hard not to view it now as a three minute b*tchfest, although one with the best of intentions if you believe in that sort of thing. Obviously, they’ve grown up a lot since ’96 and Anonymous… epitomizes that.
However, there’s a sadness that comes with the project also, as De La still tries to make their digital footprint. This release brings their number of albums available digitally to a grand total of….wait for it…two. Grant it that’s two more than I’ve got on iTunes and streaming sites, but I haven’t been making dope sh*t for 30 years with such essential joints like 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, and Buhloone Mindstate. It’s possible for at least two generations of hip-hop fans to have never heard their landmark music. We’ve already gotten into the hurdles the group has to jump to get their music onto your phone, so hopefully this album represents clearing at least one of them. It proves there’s still a place for their music and their insight. To say nothing of the fact that all three of them are still dope on the mic and haven’t lost a single step.
When Danny and Rusty were stuck, their colleague told them to throw in the towel. He conveyed the amount of respect he had for them and their legendary status as “class criminals.”
He called them “analog players in a digital world” and saw no way forward.
Luckily for them–and for us because it would’ve been a short movie–they didn’t give up. They changed their way of thinking, found a digital solution, and everyone went home happy. Everyone except the casino owner they robbed blind, but he had it coming anyway.
Props to De La Soul for figuring out their own solution and here’s hoping they get to reap the rewards as well.
Stream and the Anonymous Nobody below before purchasing on the outlet of your choice.