Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Hip Hop 101 [Tommy Boy, 2000]
De La Soul's (really Maseo's) version of "real" and/or "underground" hip-hop, those bizarre virtual synonyms, eschews ascetic beats and fancy-ass scratching for an accessibility that recalls the ebullient old-school funk of Pumpkin and Hitman Howie Tee. About half the hooks are irresistible, the rest are at least hooks, and from metaphysics to dick grab, the rhymes honor black male expression in all its self-validating glory. A-