De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising

[Tommy Boy; 1989]

Styles:  hip-hop
Others: Madlib, Ghostface, Mos Def, Black Eyed Peas

I'm giving myself 15 minutes to write about one of my favorite records, De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising, simply because if I don't give myself a time limit, I could easily go on a huge rant about this really wonderful record. I bought this record in 1990, back when I was more inclined to be a hippie, because this record's cover looks like a hippie record.  De La Soul's genius has never been denied, but many people tend to overlook this hippie-love album, simply because it's quite a bit different than Stakes is High and De La Soul Is Dead. This album took the then-young genre of hip-hop into a world it had never been, a true multicultural milestone in that, while it reflected on black culture, it also reflected on white culture as well; turning in a message of peace and love that the hip-hop and rap community never came close to matching. (Arrested Development tried, but every time Speech opened his mouth, he set his own cause back.)  There's innocence and experience to the record, but the album resides in a state of intellectual purity. (Please don't email me asking me what that means--I have no idea, it just sounds right.) Plus, the album highlights the possibilities of sampling. Rumor has it that there's not a single live instrument on the record, and I believe it--it sounds like it's ALL samples, and they scooted under the radar simply by using clips that weren't obvious enough to be recognized, unless, of course, you caught it. (The list of samples used on the record goes well into the hundreds, apparently. How they managed to not get sued more than they did is beyond me.)  These songs contained a great deal of humor--the album has a recurring theme of a quiz show--but they used it to full effect, as they also taught a moral lesson as well. Listen to "Tread Water" and "The Magic Number" (yes, it's based on THAT song).  It's also nice to have a hip-hop record that's not all SEX SEX SEX or HO HO HO. (I'm keepin' my misogynist-hating eye on you, Santa. Oh, shit, I just realized that there's a connection between Santa and Satan!)  Sure, there are songs about sex, but it's all done in brilliant euphemism. "Buddy" is slang for pussy; "Jenny" is slang for slut and there are probably more in there as well.  The album's been reissued with a second disc of B-Sides, remixes and outtakes and that disc makes this genius record even BETTER, especially the "Jeff" trilogy, which is a funny commentary on the hip-hop community. (Dig the "Baby Huey Skit," which is built on "Wipe Out," Run DMC's remake of "Walk this Way" and... and... and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly theme!

My fifteen minutes is up...peace out.

1. Intro
2. Magic Number
3. Change In Speak
4. Cool Breeze On The Rocks
5. Can U Keep A Secret
6. Jenifa Taught Me ( Derwin's Revenge)
7. Ghetto Thang
8. Transmitting Live From Mars
9. Eye Know
10. Take It Off
11. Little Bit Of Soap
12. Tread Water
13. Potholes In My Lawn
14. Say No Go
15. Do As De La Does
16. Plug Tunin ( Last Chance To Comprehend)
17. De La Orgee
18. Buddy ( Ft. Jungle Brothers/Q-Tip)
19. Description
20. Me, Myself and I
21. This Is A Recording 4 living In A Fulltime Era ( L.I.F.E.)
22. I Can Do Anything ( Delacratic)
23. D.A.I.S.Y. Age
24. Plug Tunin' (Orginal 12 inch version)

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