DE LA SOUL - AOI:Bionix
Sello: Tommy Boy
In the De La Soul diet, AOI: Bionix is a solid hip-hop meal--no fancy turntablism and few fluffy comedy sketches, just down-home beats and rhymes served straight up. Bionix is a mellow, intelligent album that aims to educate and get a laid-back party groove on at the same time. "Baby Phat" is a note to all the ladies that those couple extra pounds only mean there's more of them to love, and "Held Down" takes on a new, post-Septempter 11 relevance with the lyrics "And when I'm watching the news / And my daughter walk in / To choose to ask / 'Why were all the people on the floor, sleeping, covered in red?' / I told her, 'They came lookin' for God but found religion instead.'" Of course, De La Soul aren't comfortable preaching for too long, and at the other end of the spectrum lie sex and drug duds like "Pawn Star" (featuring Shell Council) and "Peer Pressure" (featuring Cypress Hill's B Real) that flog their subject matter dead. Even with a couple weak offerings, though, Bionix is more on par than subpar. The album's mix of gospel, funk, and hip-hop comes to a head on "Trying People," a soothing balm of a song about trying to make life a little less complicated.