Category: De La Soul

De La Soul – De La Soul Is Dead

ARTIST: De La Soul     220px-de_la_soul_is_dead_album_cover

TITLE:  De La Soul Is Dead

YEAR RELEASED: 1991

CHART ACTION: #26 US, #24 R&B, #7 UK

SINGLES: Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey (#22 R&B, #3 Rap, #16 Dance, #10 UK), A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays” (#43 R&B, #6 Dance, #22 UK), Keeping the Faith (#50 UK), Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Pease Porridge, Bitties in the BK Lounge

LINEUP: Posdonus, Trugoy the Dove, Maseo with Prince Paul producing.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A reaction, maybe an over-reaction, to their being called hippies resulted in this darker, more intense album that has some good moments, but some tedious ones as well.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The skits and foolishness that worked on 3 Feet High and Rising stopped this record dead in its tracks. Following a group of kids that found a tape of the record, they dislike it and declare De La Soul ‘dead’.

The group didn’t die, but the skit killed the momentum and flow of the album, making its poignant and biting social commentary a bit lost in the scheme of the album.

There is absolutely some material that is as good as their debut. It’s definitely more serious and harrowing, and probably more true to life. But the band didn’t need the folderol, just the raps, and this would have been fine.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The incident that set off the group was when Arsenio Hall called them ‘hippies’. They referenced that a lot.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, bonus tracks on the CD version that wasn’t on vinyl or cassette.

GRADE: B-:  Carrying grudges didn’t help and wrecked the flow.

De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising

ARTIST: De La Soul 220px-DeLaSoul3FeetHighandRisingalbumcover

TITLE:  3 Feet High and Rising

YEAR RELEASED: 1989

CHART ACTION: #24 US, #1 US R&B, #13 UK

SINGLES: Plug Tunin’, Potholes in My Lawn (#22 US Rap), Me Myself and I (#34 US, #1 US R&B, #1 US Rap, #1 US Dance, #22 UK), Say No Go (#32 US R&B, #11 US Rap, #3 US Dance, #18 UK), Eye Know (#14 UK), The Magic Number (#7 UK), Buddy (#18 US R&B, #2 US Rap, #27 US Dance)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  That’s a lot of singles up there that got airplay.

LINEUP: Posdunos, Trugoy the Dove, Maseo. Q-Tip and the Jungle Brothers guested.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Groundbreaking hip-hop that went against the gangsta rap wave with its message of positivity, its production and its use of unconventional samples.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Most of this record is an out-and-out creative masterpiece. Blending sounds, samples, lyrics, beats and raps that were against the gangsta grain, De La Soul and producer Prince Paul created an absolute sound experience that always reveals new, hidden gems on every listen.

The trio created rhymes with a positive message, almost like hippies with their D.A.I.S.Y age motifs (which stood for Da Inner Sound Y’all). But what also was important was how everything was sewn together, and the fact that it was very listenable for almost every occasion.

The ONE thing I have to criticize it for is the invention of the rap-album skit, which thankfully only appears in a few places as something to tie everything together. Still, the skits don’t really work for me.

This album has influenced a lot of hip-hop artists in the 90’s and beyond. Without this album, it’s hard to imagine jazz rap, alternative hip hop, and other similar styles.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: In 2010, the Library of Congress added this record to the National Recording Registry.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, an entire bonus disk to outtakes and re-mixes was available in 2001.

GRADE: A:  Revolutionary record only brought down by a few skits.