De La Soul's Buhloone Mindstate: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective
While De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest were considered associated acts as part of a larger movement, we were all aware they were still in direct competition with each other. They each had classic debut albums and each had shattered the notion of the sophomore jinx by delivering stellar second albums which showed noticeable growth. De La Soul knew that Buhloone Mindstate would be weighed against the upcoming A Tribe Called Quest album Midnight Marauders and they responded in kind. Even as we listened to one we anticipated the other. Another genius move is that "Breakadawn" doesn't appear until the end of the album. The song that got people so amped for the album in the first place ends up a forgotten man on the project rather than completely standing out from it.
The album closes with a skit and the Biz Markie guested "Stone Age". The 15 track project was a concise, perfectly sequenced and masterfully executed piece of art from top to bottom. Buhloone Mindstate incorporated Jazz, Rock, Funk and the collective genius of De La Soul, Prince Paul and Bob Power in order to create another classic album. The following months would bring even more classic and notable releases from Lords Of The Underground (Here Come The Lords), Digable Planets (Reachin': A New Refutation Of Time & Space), KRS One (Return Of The Boom Bap), Souls Of Mischief (93 Til Infinity), Leaders Of The New School (T.I.M.E.), Black Moon (Enta Da Stage), Wu Tang Clan (Enter The 36 Chambers) and A Tribe Called Quest (Midnight Marauders) but De La Soul's Buhloone Mindstate still stands out even amongst this wave of excellent projects.
In conclusion, De La Soul's third LP (and their final collaboration with Prince Paul) not only stands out as one of the best albums Hip-Hop had to offer in one of it's greatest years but as an unadulterated classic that sounds just as great as it did 20 years ago as it does today. The first mark of classic material is that stands the test of time. Keep in mind that there's a reason why I've blocked out hours to write about it two decades removed from it's release rather than invest any of my energy writing about the disposable major label Rap music that's prevalent today.