A couple of years ago, hip-hop was going through its poodle metal phase. Lots of flashy clothes, Cristal pouring over half-naked girls dancing on parked sports cars. Yeah, it's entertaining, but MTV's rapsloitation has nothing to do with the four elements of hip-hop. So we look back to the heroes of the past, and thank God there's De La Soul, still raising the stakes with its seventh album, last year's The Grind Date. The quirky, bouncy, fun-as-hell disc is so consistent with the De La ethos that it could've been the predecessor to the group's 1989 debut, 3 Feet High and Rising. This summer, it's hit the road with smoove-soul piano man John Legend and Chi-town wordsmith Common, whose latest, Be, reminds one that slickness and substance aren't mutually exclusive. De La taught hip-hop that lesson 15 years ago -- it's good to know someone's still listening.
De La Soul, Common, and John Legend perform at 10 p.m. Monday, August 8, at Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Advance tickets cost $20 at www.wanttickets.com. Call 305-531-5535.
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