How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Bionix is the second installment of the three-part Art Official Intelligence series. When the first part, Mosaic Thump came out after four years of silence it was apparent that their production had fallen somewhat more in line with current hip-hop trends than their previous work. But lyrically and conceptually, De La Soul is still light years ahead of the iced-out pack. Bionix adheres to the musical blueprint of its predecessor, combining radio-friendly bounce with a gritty, underground edge. The same unconventional philosophies that hallmarked the day-glo daisy-age of 3 Feet High and Rising are present on Bionix , albeit translated into a language palatable to both the diehard fan, and the heads whose introduction to hip-hop has been by way of P.Diddy and DMX. Bionix sees De La sharing some of their wisdom with the younger generation. Still spreading love and consciousness, "Special" has them candidly dissecting relationships, voicing a willingness to commit and an introspection largely unheard of amongst their tail-chasing counterparts. In a similar spirit they give props to real women of all sizes on "Baby Phat", and round out the album with the positivity of "Trying People". De La Soul has remained relevant and credible as no other hip-hop act has, consistently pushing an alternative viewpoint and humanizing what is becoming an increasingly cartoonish genre.