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Digital Underground / Cuz a D.U. Party Don’t Stop
Forget the Year of the Rat; 2008 seems to be the year of so-so career endings. First, industrial legend Ministry gave fans the middle finger with one of the lamest farewell tours in history, and now seminal hip-hop group Digital Underground releases their final studio album - and it is a bit of a disappointment for longtime fans expecting more. It is easy to see the band was trying for something different and that is worthy of applause, as its one of the group’s most enduring talents.
The album starts out promising with typical D.U. shenanigans in the form of “Eat Boiled Peanuts,” but about 60 seconds into the second track, “Who’s Bumpin’,” you realize something is missing. There’s not much rapping to be had, especially by group founders Shock-G and Money B. “Cali Boogie” hits next and slams it home with Shock-G and Money-B trading rhymes, but as “Lettuce in the Club” hits the speakers, it is evident that D.U isn’t bringing a slam-dunk with this release.
There are a few other decent tracks, like “More Manure,” “Blue Skyy” and “Everything Ya Done For Me,” but the rest of the album is made up of live tracks and interludes that are neither poignant nor hysterical like the majority of the groups past material. It’s clear the point of the album is to pass the torch to the group's younger members like Esinchill, Element, and the amazing spinning and sampling of DJ Nu-Stylez. It’s a laudable attempt and something that has made D.U. the true definition of a “rap collective” much more so than a group like Wu-Tang Clan.
Shock-G and his alter ego Humpty Hump, along with Money-B and the rest of the massive D.U. family, are one of the brightest crews in hip-hop. It will never be forgotten what they have brought to the table of hip-hop. Sadly, this album does not do them justice for whatever reasons. If your familiar with D.U., pick this up to support the D-flow family if nothing else, but if you're new to the scene and are only familiar with “The Humpty Dance,” start with something else like their masterful album The Body Hat Syndrome or the creative funk of Sons of the P.