De La Soul’s Plug 1 & Plug 2 Present - First Serve

Consolidates their legacy
De La Soul’s Plug 1 & Plug 2 Present - First Serve
For better or worse, De La Soul pioneered the album skit when the hip-hop format had gotten comfortable with twelve tracks in and out. With string-puller and narrative pioneer Prince Paul, the Long Islander leftfielders went as far as writing their own theoretical obituary two albums in. So it’s with quiet surprise that the First Serve project conceived between Dave and Posdnuos (minus Pasemaster Mase), pays dues to the left-for-dead art of storytelling.

The plot and dialogue is a back-to-basics of two rap hopefuls on the come-up, going from pipe dreams to stage domination, via living with moms, weed breaks, label shopping and creative differences, including the beef track ‘Clash Symphony’. Whether or not you’re worried when the two leads seemingly strike Promised Land gold by track five, it’s nice to know outside the box thinking still exists both in hip-hop and in one of its most conceptual, well-read crews. Set to a selection of well managed funk/disco-tipped strikes from French pair Chokolate & Khalid, the music betters De La’s early-Noughties, post-Daisy Age days of chasing the crossover too hard. In playing up to character and their elder statesmanship, Dave and Pos get the job done until a playful closing act.

When genuine hip-hop class like De La re-emerges, welcome homecomings are quizzically overtaken by responses of their recent whereabouts (the answer being they’ve been getting that Gorillaz money). ‘First Serve’ holds no fear for newcomers, consolidates their legacy, and deserves at least one encore.

7/10

Words by MATT OLIVER

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