Although it is hard to believe now, it wasn’t easy in the late 1980s for Rap and Hip-Hop artists to gain much traction in the Billboard 200 Albums or Top 40 Singles charts. There were songs that were picked up by more adventurous stations earlier that decade – i.e., “White Lines” by Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel – but overall, Pop and Rock fans weren’t paying attention to the up-and-coming Rap stars of the day. However, the scene continued to grow and evolve over time and by the late ‘80s, Hip-Hop was finally catching the attention of Rock and Pop critics and music fans alike. And, for the most part, we have De La Soul to thank for that…
Formed in 1988 by high school friends Posdnuos, Trugoy, and Maseo, De La Soul sidestepped the darker side of Rap / Hip-Hop and embraced a more positive approach to music making. Their lyrics reflected reality, but with a near-hippie twist. Discovered by producer / DJ (and Stetsasonic member) Prince Paul, De La Soul was signed to Tommy Boy Records in 1988 and released the singles “Plug Tunin’,” “Potholes in My Lawn,” and “Buddy” that same year. In early 1989, they released the single “Eye Know,” which was followed closely by their debut album 3 FEET HIGH AND RISING. To say that this album was a game-changer is an understatement. While Gangsta Rap’s controversial lyrics were dominating the headlines, De La Soul was the group that introduced a new generation of kids to the sounds of Hip-Hop. This was Psychedelic Hip-Hop for the D.A.I.S.Y. Age
3 FEET HIGH AND RISING remains a fresh and riveting listen more than three decades after its initial release. Mixing their groundbreaking music with samples from Hall & Oates, Steely Dan, the Turtles, and Johnny Cash, the album is a triumph on all levels. From Prince Paul’s production to the instantly lovable melodies and lyrics, the album has earned its status as a ‘masterpiece.’ One of the album’s standouts was “The Magic Number,” which has become their most well-known song both inside and outside of the Hip-Hop community. However, the album is filled with songs that are every bit its equal including “Eye Know” (featuring a sample of Otis Redding), “Me Myself And I,” “Say No Go” (featuring a Hall & Oates sample), and many others. With guest appearances from Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, 3 FEET HIGH AND RISING is still one of the greatest Hip-Hop albums of all-time… and so much more.
3 FEET HIGH AND RISING is now reissued on CD, cassette, and colored vinyl (different variants).
R.I.P. Trugoy the Dove.
DE LA SOUL
3 FEET HIGH AND RISING