De La Soul make a welcome return with ‘Royalty Capes’: art not artifice !


Hip-hop seems to have gone down a wrong-headed cul-de-sac over the last few years, and now seems largely devoid of the dazzling artistry and originality that once defined it.

Where formerly there was art (think Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan), there now seems to be mere artifice (consider Fetty Wap, Trinidad James). It appears that the lunatics really have taken over the asylum.

For once though, we have some good news, as Long Island trio and rap pioneers De La Soul (their stunning 1989 debut 3 Feet High and Rising and is a classic, they return like Django with new single “Royalty Capes which is taken from the Kickstarter funded parent album and the Anonymous Nobody…, slated to arrive next month on August 26th.

Produced by Dave aka Plug Too at The Bomb Shelter, it was then mixed and mastered to perfection at the historic Vox Studios in LA with an unorthodox but killer loop of a mournful saxophone that’s both sensual yet paradoxically eerie.

It’s also lyrically def(t) and dexterous, as evidenced by lines like “this royal right be owned, no rentals, owners of the cape express.” A far cry from other contemporary fare like, say, Chief Keef’s “Hate Being Sober” then.

Sonically speaking, its smooth and silky track that glides and undulates is the epitome of musical class and confidence. Suitably regal brass stabs, cool strings and a compelling and elastic, flexible bass line are like manna from hip-hop heaven. It’s old school power personified.

With this glorious return to form, De La Soul can now go back to the hallowed hall of hip-hop, like lions having given their unruly cubs a lyrical and musical lesson they won’t forget in a hurry.

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