"Hip-hop culture needs a diaper change," asserts De La Soul on this album's pulsating "Declaration." By which they mean, simply, that some of the younger artists now cashing in on the music's commercial success don't have a whole lot to say.
De La Soul, by contrast, has carved out an original, stylish and irreverent niche, appealing equally to kids on the street and those on campus while avoiding self-righteous preaching and posturing. The Long Island trio—whose 1989 debut album 3 Feet High and Rising revolutionized rap with its psychedelic-meets-Afrocentric sound—proves their merit again on this, their fifth CD, the first of a planned trilogy. From club-ready hits like "Oooh" (with a cameo by the always compelling Redman) to the funked-up "All Good?" (with a boost from the redoubtable Chaka Khan) to the funny but cautionary "Thru Ya City," De La Soul is still offering its trademark savvy lyrics set to a throbbing beat.