"Buhloone Mind State"

Tommy Boy

* * * 1/2

Two-and-a-half years ago, De La Soul's rapper Posdnous declared in an interview that he was disgusted with hip-hop and that he had a newfound desire to start making jazz records. While the first comment may have been in jest, the latter, it turns out, was serious.

The third album by the Long Island trio is very much a jazz-influenced record, full of head-swirling instrumentation and inventive rhymes. The music is both sexy and breezy, with an urban feel. Although "Buhloone Mind State" is similar in flavor to Digable Planets' recent debut effort, De La Soul lets its hair down and shakes it loose while Digable pretty much stays on one plane.

From "I Be Blowin' "--an instrumental featuring a tender Maceo Parker alto sax solo and the sounds of children playing--to "Long Island Wildin'," which gives Japanese rapper Takagi Kan a chance to let it flow, the album is full of surprising leaps. It's also full of samples from unlikely sources such as Jefferson Starship, the Outlaw Blues Band and Al Hirt.

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