De La Soul
|Dave||David Jude Jolicoeur||September 21st, 1968 Brooklyn, NY|
|Mase||Vincent Lamont Mason Jr||March 24th, 1970 Brooklyn, NY|
|Posdnuos||Kelvin Mercer||August 17th, 1969 Long Island, NY|
Label: Tommy Boy/Warner Music
The De La Soul trio are best known for their eclectic sampling and quirky, surreal lyrics, and their contributions to the evolution of the jazz rap subgenre. The members are Kelvin Mercer (Posdnuos, Mercenary, Plug Wonder Why, Plug One), David Jude Jolicoeur (Trugoy the Dove, Dave, Plug Two) and Vincent Mason (P.A. Pasemaster Mase, Maseo, Plug Three). The three formed the group in high school and caught the attention of producer Paul Huston (Prince Paul) with a demo tape of the song "Plug Tunin'". Prince Paul was also sometimes referred to as Plug Four.
With its playful wordplay, innovative sampling, and witty skits, the band's début album, 3 Feet High and Rising, was hailed as a hip-hop masterpiece. It is also the band's biggest commercial success to date, with their subsequent albums selling progressively less, despite receiving praise from critics. A measure of 3 Feet High and Rising's cross-over appeal was the fact that it was voted Album of the Year by NME Magazine, a title better known for its taste in guitar-based music. De La Soul has influenced numerous other hip hop artists such as Camp Lo, Black Eyed Peas, and Digable Planets. They were also instrumental in the early stages of rapper/actor Mos Def's career, and are a core part of the Spitkicker collective. They are the longest standing Native Tongues Posse group, after the Jungle Brothers.
3 Feet High and Rising
De La Soul's début album, 3 Feet High and Rising (1989, but available in August 1988 in Germany), was a critical smash hit in the hip hop genre. They quickly became prominent members of the Native Tongues Posse along with A Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep, Queen Latifah, The Jungle Brothers and others.
The single "Me, Myself and I" became a huge hit, further cementing the group's popularity. However, rock group the Turtles sued the group for sampling "You Showed Me" without permission on De La Soul's "Transmitting Live from Mars". From that point on, sampling required permission from the sources before it was released.
Lyrically, much of 3 Feet High and Rising focused on striving for peace and harmony — a message that was slowly fading from the rap community in the late 1980s. 3 Feet High and Rising also introduced De La Soul's concept of the "D.A.I.S.Y. Age" (an acronym standing for "da inner sound, y'all"). As a result, audiences were quick to peg the members of De La Soul as hippies. This stereotype greatly agitated the group's members, as they always envisioned their career as a constantly changing style. This frustration would influence their next recording sessions.
De La Soul is Dead
De La Soul's second album, De La Soul Is Dead (1991) was a much more mature album. It featured a wealth of material that criticized the violent, careless direction that hip hop was heading in at the time, though it still managed to maintain a light, absurd sense of humor. The cover of the album features a broken daisy flower pot, symbolizing the death of the "D.A.I.S.Y. Age" and the imagery that went along with it. The album spawned several singles, including the dark "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa," a tale of a girl who could no longer take the sexual abuse from her father, and lead single "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)," a story about the people who used De La's recent fame to try and launch their own careers. De La collaborated with the Black Sheep on "Fanatic Of The B Word," Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest on "A Roller Skating Jam Named 'Saturdays'", and Prince Paul makes an appearance on the mic in "Pass the Peas" with a verse of his own. The album also more prominently featured Mase as a rapper, providing verses of his own on "Bitties in the BK Lounge," "Afro Connections at a Hi-5," and "Ring Ring Ring." Though it received mixed reviews and did not sell as well as 3 Feet High and Rising, it eventually became a cult classic and was recognized as being underrated. "Score" magazine listed the album as one of their top 100 Hip Hop albums of all time, stating that "true genius is rarely understood". There are several major differences between the CD version of this album and the other formats. Tracks "Johnny's Dead AKA Vincent Mason," "My Brother's a Basehead," "Kicked Out the House," and "Who Do U Worship?" are only available on the CD (apart from the limited edition double vinyl promotional copies of the album distributed to the media before the official release)