Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 1 out of 26
  1. The lyrics are intelligent of course, clever and moral and street-conscious and just gnomic enough, but their art is in their beats and flow and tunes too.
  2. This time around, the group eschews player-hating specificity but hits equally hard (albeit with subtler blows) against the commercially dominated empire of gangsta and hoochie rap.
  3. Musically, AOI melds the compufunk of 'Stakes' with the soulystics of the trio's earlier work, adding in a healthy supply of guitar twang to boot. [#2, p.109]
  4. De La Soul's latest doesn't blaze new trails as much as it blithely hopscotches through a chill out lounge of modest beats and a chop shop full of spare samples.
  5. This, like the last joint 'Stakes Is High', sees the crew making even more stylistic space between themselves and their very own creation of the late eighties, 'the daisy age'.
  6. But despite collaborators as diverse as Chaka Khan, Busta Rhymes, and Mike D of the Beastie Boys, the album sounds more like the result of a raucous block party than of a careful marketing plan.
  7. 80
    Yes, nearly every track is a Jeep-worthy jam, and, yes, guest vocals from the likes of Redman, Chaka Khan, Busta Rhymes, and the Beastie Boys introduce unprecedented name-recognition, but this isn't a pop album by any stretch of the imagination.
  8. Many will be quick to dismiss this as a shadow of 3 Feet High, but it's their loss when hip hop's as infectious and intelligent as this.
  9. The grooves are righteous and the vibe is right.
  10. 80
    The immediate impression of 'Art Official Intelligence' is of one big party. [Sep 2000, p.104]
  11. By most standards, Mosaic Thump would be considered an excellent album, but this is De La Soul.
  12. 80
    Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump, their most contemporary offering yet, is the trio's successful return as ousted royalty destined to reclaim their kingdom in hip hop.
  13. The group spiffs up their sound and takes it cruising in a modern direction -- proving that there's plenty of life left in them yet.... The caveat? In updating their grooves to sound like everybody else's, the band has succeeded in -- well, sounding like everybody else.
  14. 70
    An earthy, beat-oriented album... It ain't '3 Feet High'--or even 'De La Soul Is Dead'-- but it ain't half bad. (Sep 2000, p.96)
  15. De La may have made their most formulaic album to date in order to speak against the formularization of hip-hop.
  16. "Mosaic Thump" still suffers many of the weaknesses of its genre. Like most rap LPs it's overlong and features too many guest stars.
  17. Although their music has gotten smoother, it remains witty, eccentric and full of left-field sonic detours.
  18. Each track is a treat - a sensible, lo-cholesterol treat, maybe, but still packed with oddly addictive rhymes and beats.
  19. But while packed with great songs--"The Art Of Getting Jumped" and "All Good?" also stand out--AOI is inconsistent, undermined by battle raps that feel limp and overly familiar coming from artists of De La Soul's stature. It doesn't help that the production tends to be weak and colorless, particularly when compared to the Technicolor vividness once provided by longtime collaborator Prince Paul.
  20. This album showcases De La Soul's more playful side while maintaining the group's intelligent, witty lyrics.
  21. 70
    The freshness that figured into De La's previous four albums feels a touch staler here. (#78, p.116)
  22. 70
    A clever party record, complete with oodles of guest appearances and multiple R&B hooks.
  23. 60
    The production, supplied by stellar guests ranging from Jay Dee and Rockwilder to the Plugs themselves, is clean and airy, with the boys floating on bubbles of flatulent bass and high-stepping over chirping guitar chords.... But if anything foils Art Official Intelligence, it's the wrath of the math: 11 of the album's 17 tracks feature guest appearances.
  24. The first De La Soul full-length lacking a consistent vibe throughout... [#147, p.81]
  25. It's clear that despite laudable ambitions, comeback albums should be focused and lean, not as flabby as this one.
  26. Mosaic Thump lives up to its name only too well, displaying a fragmentary mess of rhyming schemes, contributing artists and leaden beats. [#199, p.45]
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. DannyD
    Jan 5, 2006
    10
    This sh_t is rockin
  2. NseE.
    Jun 10, 2002
    10
    Wow! From 'The art of getting jumped', 'All good', etc, etc, the boys are back showing that they are miles ahead of Wow! From 'The art of getting jumped', 'All good', etc, etc, the boys are back showing that they are miles ahead of anything out there. Great stuff. I listen to it over and over and over. Full Review »