Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

De La Soul: AOI: Bionix [Tommy Boy, 2001]
Sampling Tavares, Wings, Dr. Buzzard, Laura Nyro, and the Fat Boys--but just barely, more as a sign of what they've been playing than of how they want to sound--they flow as smooth as the '70s grooves they once left back in the old school. Philosophically woman-friendly and musically woman-dependent, they segue effortlessly into Slick Rick sex ed and the orgasmic mock-mock-melodrama of "Pawn Star"; their gospel chorale is no less on concept than their Reverend Do Good takeoffs. Anyone who ever wondered what hip hop might sound like when it grew up now has an answer. It sounds like a good marriage in a black 'burb, complete with doubts, weed, and a principled refusal to ignore the existence of Somalia. A