De La Soul :: The Grind DateLabel: AOI/Sanctuary RecordsAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonDe La Soul has been hella busy this year; so busy in fact that as of this writing three albums have come out this year: "Live at Tramps, NYC, 1996" came out on May 25th (Tommy Boy), "Remixes, Rarities and Classics" came out on June 8th (Rhino Records), and "The Grind Date" was released on October 5th. And yes y'all, I knew the release date had been bumped up a week thanks to a >Best Buy ad in the Sunday paper, but suspiciously the store closest to where I live didn't have any on the shelf that fateful Tuesday morning. Perplexed and not pleased, I copped the only other new album I was aware of (I-20) and tried to make the best of it.
De La Soul were interrupted just before they could deliver the third volume in their AOI series -- projected to be a DJ album -- to Tommy Boy. (The label perhaps bailed out from a 15-year relationship precisely because the group was going to release such a commercially bankrupt title, one that was planned instead to appear on an independent label run by Maseo.) De La Soul quickly realized they couldn't go ahead with the plan after signing their AOI label to Sanctuary, so they wrote a new record, The Grind Date. Although it may see them settling into a holding pattern, at least the pattern of 2001's AOI: Bionix is one that any hip-hop fan won't mind hearing repeated.