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    De La Soul

    3 feet high and rising buhloone mind state de la soul is dead

    3 Feet High And Rising ( 1989 )
    Intro / The Magic Number / Change In Speak / Cool Breeze On The Rocks / Can U Keep A Secret / Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge) / Ghetto Thang / Transmitting Live From Mars / Eye Know / Take It Off / A Little Bit Of Soap / Tread Water / Potholes In My Lawn / Say No Go / Do As De La Does / Plug Tunin' (Last Chance To Comprehend) / De La Orgee / Buddy (With Jungle Brothers And Q-Tip From A Tribe Called Quest) / Description / Me Myself and I / This Is A Recording 4 Living In A Fulltime Era (L. I. F. E.) / I Can Do Anything (Delacratic) / D .A. I. S. Y. Age / Plug Tunin' (Original 12' Version)

    What if instead of taking from Ice-T or N.W.A rappers had taken from De La Soul and Daisy Age? The entire fabric of Hip-Hop would be very different today. Producer Prince Paul and band were hardly new in using sampling, but the way it's used here influenced dozens of producer and artists come the 1990s. Artists such as Johnny Cash, Hall And Oats and Steely Dan are sampled rather than your more usual Hip-Hop suspects. The lyrics are unusually positive by rap standards and hardly any profanity is heard. Peace, harmony, love and personal insights and stories are all given up for a listener to enjoy. De La Soul were hardly surprisingly labelled as hippies, and with the possible exception of A Tribe Called Quest, no other rap/hip-hop artist of the era claim close to the style De La Soul were pioneering. As far as my homeland of the UK is concerned, '3 Feet High And Rising' was one of the major rap-crossover albums and the first rap music this listener ever purchased, even going as far as buying the singles, cos the b-sides were cool as well. Posdnuos, Trugoy the Dove and Pasemaster Mase saved all of us who thought rap was just sexist and ugly. They taught us this genre could be both positive and funky. The playful danceable grooves are intermingled with producer Prince Paul's skits, another pioneering aspect at the time, although possibly not one of the better ones. Subsequent artists pad their albums mercilessly with unhumorous and pointless linking skits. De La Soul were funny with their skits.

    'The Magic Number', 'Say No Go' and 'Me Myself And I' were the prime singles here. 'The Magic Number' is uplifting and brilliant, 'Say No Go' and 'Me Myself And I' to this day defining tunes for the band and utterly unique in the hip-hop canon. The album clocks in at some 63 minutes. Over-long? Possibly, although I can't say which cuts i'd actually remove. The album is more than the sum of its parts, actually. A classic? Well, that's undeniable I suppose, although I don't exactly share that view. Parts of the album and the sound inevitably have dated, although the ideas sound as fresh as ever. It's just there's a minor quibble quibbling away (?!?) somewhere deep within my brain. 'Buddy' and 'Daisy Age' are the equal, or very nearly, of the singles - both more within a tradditional hip-hop mould though. Impressively smooth rapping and even some scratchin' appear on 'Daisy Age'. I say 'and even' because that old-school scratching sound is almost nowhere to be heard elsewhere. The beats are relatively sparse throughout and I guess that's whats dated the LP, although the samples ride through successfully between the gaps. 'Tread Water' shares the sound and style of the singles and is every bit as good, it's a joyous track, actually. A superb album that's an anomaly in rap/hip-hop, even the band themselves not trying to repeat the same formula.

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    Readers Comments

    Jamey McDermott jmcdermott1@student.gsu.edu
    "With the possible exception of A Tribe Called Quest, no other rap/hip-hop artist of the era claim close to the style De La Soul were pioneering." That's not entirely true. While they were definitely sort of the leading lights of that style, there was the whole Afro-centric, positivity-oriented Native Tongues scene (most notably the Jungle Brothers, who were doing pretty similar things around the same time).

    Amacca hippietrekkie@hotmail.co.uk
    8/10. Being an open minded lover of music I seeked out 3 albums that best represent the 'golden age' of hip hop. I got this, Public Enemy and NWA. I enjoyed this the most. If only rap followed this influence and wasn't about violence and 'bling' i'd probably like the genre. Too many skits and its length hamper it from being a masterpiece but i did have fun and still do.


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    De La Soul Is Dead ( 1991 )
    Intro / Oodles of O's / Talkin' Bout Hey Love / Pease Porridge / Skit 1 / Johnny's Dead Aka Vincent Mason / A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays" / WRMS' Dedication to the Bitty / Bitties in the BK Lounge / Skit 2 / My Brother's a Basehead / Let, Let Me In / Afro Connections at a Hi 5 (In the Eye of the Hoodlum) / Rap De Rap Show / Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa / Who Do U Worship / Skit 3 / Kicked Out the House / Pass the Plugs / Not Over Till the Fat Lady Plays the Demo / Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) / WRMS: Cat's in Control / Skit 4 / Shwingalokate / Fanatic of the B Word / Keepin' the Faith / Skit 5

    De La Soul didn't want to be pigeonholed, particularly by their own work. Amidst scene critiscms that their debut was a sell-out, the age of hippies and daisy-age was proclaimed dead, as witnessed by the broken flower-pot on the artwork cover. An album that was delayed to get sample clearance, everybody had wanted a piece of the pie after 'Three Feet High And Rising' and the songwriting credits here clearly demonstrate the origins of certain pieces. The debate surrounding use of others samples meant certain samples were removed from the LP. It's a concept LP for those of you wondering. Daisy age is dead, hip-hop is dead and De La Soul are back with an album that sounds little like their debut and at seventy three minutes long is a struggle to sit through. The skits are here to poke fun at both themselves and their critics. A list of the main samples contained on the album provides interesting information.

    Intro

    "D.A.I.S.Y. Age" by De La Soul

    Oodles of O's

    "Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge)" by De La Soul

    Talkin' Bout Hey Love

    "Les Oubliettes" by Serge Gainsbourg
    "Talkin' Bout Hey Love" by Stevie Wonder

    Pease Porridge

    "Make it Funky" by James Brown
    "God Made Me Funky" by The Headhunters
    "Black Eyed Susan Brown" by Brother Bones
    "Pease Porridge" and "Finger Fun" by Rhythm & Rhyme

    A Roller Skating Jam Named "Saturdays"

    "Grease" by Frankie Valli
    "Ebony Jam" by Tower of Power
    "Saturday in the Park" by Chicago
    "Evil Vibrations" by The Mighty Riders
    "Light My Fire" by Young-Holt Unlimited

    WRMS' Dedication To The Bitty

    "The Breakdown (Pt.2)" by Rufus Thomas
    "In All My Wildest Dreams" by Joe Sample

    My Brother's A Basehead

    "Stick Em" by The Fat Boys
    "Game of Love" by Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders
    "Touch Me" by The Doors

    Let, Let Me In

    "The Three Little Pigs"
    "Tramp" by Lowell Fulson
    "At My Front Door" by The El Dorados

    Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa

    "Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss
    "I'll Stay" and "Mommy, What's a Funkadelic" by Funkadelic

    Pass The Plugs

    "Oops Here I Go Again" by Edna Wright

    Not Over Till The Fat Lady Plays The Demo

    "En Melody" by Serge Gainsbourg

    Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)

    "Pass the Peas" by The J.B.'s
    "Help is on the Way" by The Whatnauts

    Shwingalokate

    "Mr. Groove" by One Way
    "Placebo Syndrome" by Parliament

    Fanatic Of The B Word

    "Freedom" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
    Keepin' The Faith

    "Just A Touch Of Love" by Slave
    "Sign of the Times" by Bob James
    "Could You Be Loved" by Bob Marley

    The lead single was 'Ring Ring Ring' and also the first most fans heard of the bands new direction. Over a tight soul groove the band rap but they've been mixed down, so their presence and verbalisations are almost incidental to the groove. Very strange. 'Oodles Of Os' has plenty of groove and the raps are impressive. The beats and vocals both have a dark edge, certainly darker than anything from the debut. 'De La Soul Is Dead' overall shows a maturity, they tackle a wide range of subjects and fall inbetween being labelled hippies or hardcore. This album doesn't easily seem to fit in anywhere, perhaps why sales were less than encouraging when it first came out. Of the ( few ) upbeat moments on the LP, 'A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays' is the most enjoyable. A delicious groove and whilst the rap still isn't in your face, they ooze confidence and accomplishment. Other highlights include 'My Brothers A Basehead', a strong song based on a true story. Another song based on a true story is 'Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa', both of these songs go the furtherst towards pushing De La Soul away from their previous image. The latter tune is particularly impressive and haunting, possibly the finest song on the entire LP. That the groups 180 degree turn alienated a good portion of their fanbase who to this day haven't returned is hardly surprising. Rap and Hip-Hop musics drive for authenticity and keeping it real may have extended De La Soul's lifespan at the expense of commercial hits 'in the moment'. They won respect and it was hard won. 'De La Soul Is Dead' is a ramble of a journey that would have benefitted from judicious editing, yet to have an album like this from De La Soul does deserve that respect, hard fought for. This isn't an easy listen.

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    Buhloone Mind State 9 ( 1993 )
    Intro / Eye Patch / En Focus / Patti Dooke / I Be Blowin' / Long Island Wildin' / Ego Trippin' / Paul's Revenge / 3 Days Later / Area / I Am I Be / In the Woods / Breakadawn / Dave Has a Problem...Seriously / Stone Age

    'Buhloone Mind State' was the third De La Soul LP and the final one to date to be produced by Prince Paul. Sounding little like either of the previous two LP's, the main feel for this album is jazz. They even get noted horn player Maceo Parker to improvise one of the tracks, 'I Be Blowin', pure jazz on a hip-hop LP and it really does work. This is such an intelligent, literate and clever album anyway. They've stopped trying to go into a hundred different directions ( witness de la soul is dead ) and instead have created a cohesive whole although no return to daisy-age. Indeed, this is almost like daisy-age grew up, got married to a jazz musician and had three children. Apart from the musical backdrops created by De La Soul and Prince Paul, the guys are rapping at the top of their game. I may even be tempted to place 'Buhloone Mind State' above 'Three Feat High And Rising' in terms of artistic acheivement and enjoyability. Well, let's see what we have on offer. We've a sample of a sheep, telephone rings, rappers rapping a line to each other in conversation, hardcore Japanese rappers and a general plethora of sound effects. The JBs are well sampled and that takes me back to 'I Be Blowin'. Rather than just take a sample, the guys create a subtle musical backdrop, invite James Brown's horn player into the studio and ask him to improvise over the top of the existing musical track. It's this kind of clever use of guest artist that is a great feature of 'Buhloone Mind State'. The guys never get boring anyway because there's three good rappers in the group of course, each with distinctive voices. The rhymes and words are never less than interesting. We have ourselves nothing short of a little masterpiece on our hands. You know how hip-hop albums tend to tail off towards the end? 'Buhloone Mind State' just keeps getting better and better, the second half arguably better than the first half. It's also not an album of a few highlights and filler. Every track had a purpose and point to it.

    The first single released was 'Breakadawn' and we can see this appears right towards the end of the LP. It's a cool piece but not neccesarily a highlight of this LP. This is an LP of highlights, 'Breakdawn' just fits right in. 'I Am I Be' is perhaps my pick of the bunch though if I had to pick just one track. Seven and a half minutes long, keeping up the jazzy feel of the entire LP and just sounding oh so very cool. The beats kick in, the rap is one of the finest on the LP and the song weaves in and out beautiful instrumental sounds in the background. Repeated listenings just make the LP stronger, which is rare in this day and age. Songs you'll pick out after a third or fourth listen might include 'Patti Dookie' or the awesome 'Ego Trippin' which begins with scary sounding screaming before progressing into the rapping. Shouts and a very cool jazzy backdrop serve as the base as the vocalist states ironically i'm the greatest mc in the world! This is an LP that manages to avoid the usual rap/hip-hop cliches, it's a masterful production and as such, fully deserving of the grade i'm about to give it.

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    this page last updated 29/12/07


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