First Serve

Studio Album by released in 2012

First Serve review

De La Soul get to miss the past?

It is amazing how much rappers love taking up all kinds of pseudonyms, aliases and stage names, from time to time confusing their listeners. Here has come just another example, the First Serve album from the famous project De La Soul. It must be cleared out right from the start that the roster has shrinked to two persons, and these guys decided that it was time to change names one more time. Well known to genre’s fans, Posdnous/Plug One and Dave/Plug Two appear on their new record as Jason Barrow and Dean Witter. This must be conditioned by the conceptual character of the album which tells a story of two beginning rappers who dream to one day find themselves on the top of fame. Apparently, De La Soul already miss the youth time which is left far behind by now. It is easy to recognize in them the artists themselves, who are eager to revisit times treasured by every musician.

Retro feel and cinematographic technique

First Serve is as close to the cinematographic stylistics as it can. The first and the last tracks are named illustratively Opening Credits, and Ending Credits. Like in a good motion picture, the album’s creators did their best to form a special atmosphere, that of the times when hip hop was becoming a pop trend. There is a lot good dance music here, even in details reminding of best samples of hip hop and funk mixture of the early nineties, and there is no big influence from modern synths. Both members of De La Soul demonstrate their perfect form and seem to have no big difficulties taking turns to deliver their rap. The considerable number of the tracks should not be a misleading factor because First Serve, like many conceptual records, has a lot of interludes. Individually, they are not of big interest, but these little fragments help to build an effect of theatrical performance. It also should be mentioned that the record was produced by the French tandem 2&4, who have long been making successful retro-flavored releases. That is why First Serve bears a strong feeling of light and sweet nostalgia.

An album made to please

There are songs on First Serve that are dedicated to a particular episode in the biography of Jason and Dean who fight their way through to the elite. The Work is a confession of how much sweat they left at the beginning of their journey. Small Disasters reminds us that at each corner a fresher runs across a trouble. Must Be Music is the long awaited first hit that promoted the duet to a place under the sun. Yet in The Book Of Life we get to know that inside a project musicians do not always agree on everything effortlessly. Whatever the subject, the rappers look at it down from the height of their experience and wisdom and always remember to add a good deal of humor to their narration. It is pretty tough to single out a doubtless highlight or two on this album, which is for the right reason because if there were such songs here that would destroy the smooth run of the story. Instead, you can say that First Serve is a record with very consistent material without fillers or dull moments. This release was prepared for you to have a relaxing listening without exploiting your brain hard. As for the men from De La Soul, they made it clear on the record that working on it was also a pleasure to them.