Expect the unexpected is good advice if you're about to leap into a new album from De La Soul.
And so it is with And the Anonymous Nobody, their first full length record in 11 years. As thousands of fans at this year's Womad festival in Taranaki can attest, De La Soul remain a force to be reckoned with years after their 1989 debut Three Feet High and Raising.
De La Soul deliver a quirky, risk-taking and unique take on the hip hop genre with sidetracks into the jazz and rock idioms. And the Anonymous Nobody, their ninth studio album builds in musicality and intensity through its generous17-track line-up.
Posduos, Dave and Maseo bring on a cast of thousands (almost, with collaborators Snoop Dogg on Pain, Roc Marciano on Property of Spitkicker.com, Snoopies features Talking Heads' David Byrne, Usher appears in Greyhounds while Little Dragons bring a mood shift in Drawn.
In fact there's much to like about numerous mood shifts across And the Anonymous Nobody, so no time to get stuck in one groove, which makes the album really appealing.
I reckon this new set by De La Soul will satisfy their long-term (and patient) fans while the lyrics and the variety in contemporary settings will also resonate well with new fans who maybe weren't even born with they set out on their first adventure almost 20 years ago.
Rating: 4/5 stars.