De La Soul

De La Soul, some killer dudes.

I first heard De La Soul on Yo! MTV Raps back in 1990, the song was “Me, Myself and I”. At the time I didn’t think much of it the song was catchy but didn’t make me want to run out and buy the album or single to attain it for my personal collection. That all changed a couple years later when a friend of mine picked up their second album, “De La Soul Is Dead”. This second album was so good it made me rethink the first and I sprung for the purchase, boy was I surprised. “3 Feet High and Rising” has to be one of the best hip hop albums from that time period. The beats and rhymes are timeless. Without knowing the songs ahead of time it’s near impossible to tell where that album falls within the hip hop time line. For me that’s a true indication of quality. Much of the music on the market at a given time is fulled with heavy influences from the pop culture and sound of the current social situation, when an artist rises of all that the end result is usually high quality.

De La Soul’s early beginnings are quite humble. The three primary members all attended the same Long Island New York high school started rapping together it’s as simple as that. They go by various monikers but I know them as, Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo. Soon after they started rapping together they were discovered by producer Prince Paul and the rest is history. If you listen to their lyrics you’ll notice they reference Prince Paul quite a bit in their early albums. De La was and still is a founding member of the Native Tongues posse along with Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest. Through their Native Tongues connection you’ll hear rappers from the other Native Tongues acts quite a bit on their albums.  It’s a nice touch as on first listen you never can be quite sure who you’re going to hear.

De La is currently one of the longest assembled rap groups from their time of founding. Their first album, released over seas, was in 1988 and they currently have a album to release this year, 2009. 21 years with no changes in the lineup is almost unheard of in the music world in general, much less the hip hop world. I will say this though, in all those years they have released 9 albums but I still strongly suggest their first two albums as first listens. Their later stuff is good but those first two are classics. Perhaps their impeccable quality is due to Prince Paul’s involvement as he was released from producing albums for De La after the third release. Look out for multiple editions of “3 Feet High and Rising”, there is a two disk version out there and while typically those second disks are full of fluff in this case the second disk is fantastic, full of more original tracks.  Check em out!

1) 3 Feet High and Rising [1989]
2) De La Soul is Dead [1991]
3) Buhloone Mindstate [1993]
4) Stakes Is High [1996]
5) Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump [2000]
6) Art Official Intelligence: Bionix [2001]
7) The Grind Date [2004]
8) The Impossible: Mission TV Series – Pt. 1 [2006]
9) Are You In?: Nike+ Original Run [2009]

For some reason AmazonMP3 doesn’t have any of the older De La Soul albums available for stream. This is the best I could do, if interested I’d strongly recommend looking up those older ones.

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