De La Soul

Buhloone Mindstate

1993's Buhloone Mindstate saw the group evolve a new sound and cemented their position as mainstays of the alternative hip hop movement. There were several moments on the album which proved the band had matured. "I Be Blowin'" was a departure as the track was an instrumental featuring saxophone playing by the legendary Maceo Parker. The introspective "I Am I Be" showed De La at their most mature to date with subject matter about Pos' daughter Ayana Monet as well as his grandmother. "Long Island Wildin'" was a collaboration with Japanese hip-hop artists Kan Takagi (Major Force) and trio Scha Dara Parr (SDP). First single "Breakadawn" used a sample of Michael Jackson's "I Can't Help It" throughout. De La Soul collaborated for the first time with Gang Starr's Guru on "Patti Dooke." Female MC Shortie No Mas, a cousin of Posdnuos, was prominent on many tracks on the album, showcased particularly "In The Woods." The album ended with a fun old school Biz Markie collaboration called "Stone Age." Missing from vocal duties is Mase, whose voice can only be heard on "Area" in a break near the end of the track. Also rarely featured is his scratching which was heard often on previous albums, with only "In the Woods" showcasing his talent in that area. The album was a critical success, but it was the biggest commercial failure for the group at the time of its release. Many publications, such as Rolling Stone, have listed this album as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time.

In 1993, De La Soul performed together with Teenage Fanclub for the soundtrack of Judgment Night, on a track called "Fallin'".

In 1994, 500 copies of a promotional EP called Clear Lake Audiotorium were released on clear vinyl and CD. The 6 track EP contained edited versions of tracks off of Buhloone Mindstate but also featured the tracks "Sh.Fe.MC's" (Shocking Female MC's) which was a collaboration with A Tribe Called Quest, and "Stix & Stonz" which featured old-school hip hop artists Grandmaster Caz, Tito of Fearless Four, Whipper Whip, LA Sunshine and Superstar. The EP was widely bootlegged afterwards.

Stakes Is High

1996's Stakes Is High was the first album not produced by Prince Paul, with overall production credits given solely to the trio, and again, was met with mixed results and poor sales. The title track and first single, produced by Jay Dee, was not a hit, but second single Itsoweezee (HOT), with only Dave on vocals, did fare better due to its creative music video. The album spawned a third single 4 More featuring Zhane which failed to chart. The album did provide a launching pad for future star rapper and actor Mos Def, who appeared on the track "Big Brother Beat." The album also featured collaborations with Common (Sense), Truth Enola, and the Jazzyfatnastees.

Art Official Intelligence

Four years later, De La Soul announced that they would release a triple album series entitled "Art Official Intelligence" (or AOI). All three albums were intended to be released within a year, beginning with the release of Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump. This was followed by AOI: Bionix in late 2001. After this, however, the public saw no release of the third and final album in the AOI series. For the next two years, the only De La Soul releases were singles or remix compilations. Jolicœur (Dave) stated in an interview that it usually takes about four years for the group to record an album, promote it with advertisements, touring and so on. The group was having trouble finishing the last AOI instalment for many reasons, one of which being an ongoing struggle with Tommy Boy Records, which had been releasing their albums ever since their debut.

In 2003, De La Soul and Yummy performed "Much More" on an episode of Chappelle's Show.

The Grind Date

In 2004, De La Soul released a new full album: The Grind Date on Sanctuary/BMG Records because the venture between Tommy Boy and Warner Bros. Records was shut down and the group’s contract was shopped to the other WEA labels. The band thought about having its contract absorbed by Elektra Records, but it decided to leave WEA altogether. Although it was not the third AOI album fans had been expecting, the album was released to some critical acclaim and was well-received by most fans. The album features guests MF Doom, Ghostface Killah, Butta Verses and Flavor Flav, with production from Jake One, Madlib and more. The lead single “Shopping Bags (She Got From You)” did not fare very well and set the tone for disappointing commercial acceptance.

In 2005, it was featured on the Gorillaz single "Feel Good Inc." and on the LA Symphony single "Universal." "Feel Good Inc" also won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Collaboration. Also in 2005, Posdnuos collaborated with the Portuguese emcee Boss AC on a track called "Yo (Não Brinques Com Esta Merda)" (Don't play with this shit). In 2006, it released a mixtape of new and old songs, entitled The Impossible: Mission TV Series - Pt. 1, on its AOI Records label.

In 2002, De La Soul was briefly featured in the video game PaRappa the Rapper 2 with the song "Say "I Gotta Believe!"" (with Double).

In 2003, the song "Oodles of O's" was featured on the soundtrack for Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4.

De La Soul were nominated for 5 Grammys with Gorillaz for their collaboration on the song "Feel Good Inc.".

In 2006, De La Soul collaborated with the athletic sneaker giant, Nike, to produce two versions of the Nike Dunk under their skateboarding division, Nike SB. The sneakers were an instant hit, and sold out at most retail stores that carried them.

Discography:

  • 1989 3 Feet High and Rising (Chart position: #1) RIAA Certification: Platinum
  • 1991 De La Soul is Dead (Chart position: #24) RIAA Certification: Gold
  • 1993 Buhloone Mindstate (Chart position: #9)
  • 1996 Stakes Is High (Chart position: #4)
  • 2000 Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (Chart position: #3)
  • 2001 AOI: Bionix (Chart position: #31)
  • 2004 The Grind Date (Chart position: #17)
  • 2006 The Impossible Mission
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