De La Soul - Classic or Dud?

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Is De La Soul dead? Do they deserve to be? Is their first album overrated and their second criminally underrated?

My name is Kenny, Thursday, 22 August 2002 19:10 (twenty-one years ago) link

All first three albums are classic, and I would say that it's Buhloone Mind State that's underrated, not ...is Dead, as that seems pretty highly acclaimed. Stakes is High is relatively bland, but still a little fun. But I think BMS might be the most consistently good.

Nick A., Thursday, 22 August 2002 19:14 (twenty-one years ago) link

the first album is a masterpiece in my book - modern classic and a benchmark of hip hop and sampling invention. i was less keen on what i heard on the second album (Keep The Faith etc.) but i'd say De La have been fairly consistent thru the 90s as well with strong tracks like 'Stakes Is High', 'Breakadawn' and 'Ego Trippin' springing to mind. I never checked out 'Art Official Intelligence' in full but the strength of the singles (Ooooh, All Good, Thru Ya City) indicated this was their best work since '3 Feet High & Rising' and confirms their status as reliable elder statesmen of the genre...the guest spot by Pos on Mint Royale's 'Show Me' last year was another winner for me

blueski, Thursday, 22 August 2002 19:16 (twenty-one years ago) link

I have yet to hear a De La Soul album that wasn't classic.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Thursday, 22 August 2002 19:19 (twenty-one years ago) link

My opinion: First two albums: classic wonderful amazing, with DLSID edging out 3FH&R for Best in Genre. I was bored with Buhloone Mindstate, but I think Stakes Is High is the underrated one. I haven't fallen in love with the two AOI discs; but they're spunky and funny and energetic enough for me to think De La might have one more great record in them.

Matt C., Thursday, 22 August 2002 19:22 (twenty-one years ago) link

A band I've always loved but never listened to as often as I should, oddly enough -- and when I mean 'should,' I mean in the sense that everything I've heard demanding relistening! Time to dig out those old CDs again, I sez.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 22 August 2002 19:35 (twenty-one years ago) link

three feet high and rising was the first
hip-hop album i ever bought. buhloone
mind state was the second. it would be
cool to say bionix was the last one. but
it wasn't. it was good, though. the slick
rick one. 'held down.' 'bionix.' those
other ones.

hip-hop people reviewing bionix all said
it sucked. indie rock type people reviewing
it said it was another classic from de
la soul. those are the only people who
reviewed it.

DK, Thursday, 22 August 2002 19:46 (twenty-one years ago) link

i think the song that got them in all the trouble "Transmissions Live From Mars"... instrumental downtempo (the imfamous Turtles sample) with French instructional dialogue over the top...

is STILL a really nice listen. if you take that song for face value away from the rest of the album, shows a real weird foreshadow of things Mo Wax/Beastie/Beck (mostly things I never cared too much for), but that weird international downtempo weird sample... it seemed to preface all that Cibo Matto/Stereolab/Stereototal (slow) modern rock-hop.

Not too big on De La Soul though; however, check this song out again if you haven't recently.

gygax!, Thursday, 22 August 2002 19:59 (twenty-one years ago) link

great albums, terrible live show. astonishingly boring and full of all the pointless posturing and entouragism that de la soul has always seemed to stand against. strange.

fields of salmon (fieldsofsalmon), Thursday, 22 August 2002 21:04 (twenty-one years ago) link

I'm with Dan Perry on this one

M Matos (M Matos), Thursday, 22 August 2002 21:25 (twenty-one years ago) link

Back in '91/'92 they were one of the first hip-hop acts I really got into since my RUN-D.M.C.-soundtracked l'il-brat-hood days were washed aside by a torrent of Classic Rock Radio Immersion. I mean, you give a sugar-addled spaz-kid high school freshman a cassette tape that includes a skit featuring the phrase "what'd'you know about music, hamster penis?" and a song about a molested student out for revenge against a Macy's Santa and some samples from "Grease" and a great sex-rhymes track (with those "What's that? In your pocket?" samples -- oh damn) and Kermit imitations and beatdown anthems laid upon tapdancing music and "Bitties In The BK Lounge" and "A Roller Skating Jam Named 'Saturdays'"!!!! well you got an all-time favorite album for life, at least if what happened to me is any indication. 3 Feet High was great too but De La Soul Is Dead meant more to me back then than any new release album besides Nevermind -- and I haven't listened to Nevermind in years.
Boy, I got a little out of hand there.

Nate Patrin, Friday, 23 August 2002 01:32 (twenty-one years ago) link

Despite "Eye Know" and "Roller Skating" in particular, never really got them until AOI. The early stuff seemed too crude in terms of sonics and subject matter; the middle stuff seemed to have ditched their vitality. Mosaic Thump brought back their fun side and mixed it with supersmooth sageness; Bionix is simply the sexiest hip-hop album ever.

B:Rad, Friday, 23 August 2002 02:24 (twenty-one years ago) link

Count me in as someone who loved Bionix - the opening trio of "Bionix", "Baby Phat" and "Simply" are awesomely zing-like, both shiveringly tactile and open-hearted, generous, funny. I also like the generally-panned R&B-ish tracks - "Special" and "Am I Worthy Of You" are just so slinktastic.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Friday, 23 August 2002 08:33 (twenty-one years ago) link

Classic. I even bought the "edited" version of the last one, by mistake, and liked it just dandy. I still think BUHLOONE is more consistently great, yeah, but the first was the most hyper, and the best.

matt riedl (veal), Friday, 23 August 2002 14:12 (twenty-one years ago) link

Great albums, but my main memory of De La Soul is how out of place Ring Ring Ring sounded at the time from both rock and rap at the time.

Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Friday, 23 August 2002 14:26 (twenty-one years ago) link

Don't be put off by their (sometimes deserved) rep for slack live shows. The most recent First Avenue gig was as funny and sweaty and unselfconscious as any rap show I've seen.

I played "Tryin'" before my brother's wedding a couple months ago, just to calm my nerves on a stressful day, and I damn near started to weep. The song is about being ready for the rest of your life, by guys obviously not ready for the rest of their lives.

All the records are great, but De La is greater than ever.

Pete Scholtes, Friday, 23 August 2002 19:17 (twenty-one years ago) link

_De La Soul Is Dead_ is one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Period. Everything on it is just classic (yes, even "Keepin' The Faith").

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Friday, 23 August 2002 19:22 (twenty-one years ago) link

(Wait, City Pages? I MISS THAT PAPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Friday, 23 August 2002 19:28 (twenty-one years ago) link

i totally forgot to mention 'Rollerskatin' Jam Named Saturday' which is possibly better than anything on 'Three Feet High & Rising' - except 'Say No Go' and 'Transmitting Live From Mars' perhaps

blueski, Friday, 23 August 2002 19:31 (twenty-one years ago) link

Having only heard Bionix and the debut, pure classic. I have a feeling the rest of their work is just as brilliant, and it will be obtained eventually.

Vinnie (vprabhu), Friday, 23 August 2002 20:09 (twenty-one years ago) link

Dan, you an old Minneapolis guy, too?!

M Matos (M Matos), Saturday, 24 August 2002 21:54 (twenty-one years ago) link

You didn't know, M? Dan's got more Minneapolis area stories than you could imagine -- it's where he went to high school and some time before, I believe.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 24 August 2002 22:21 (twenty-one years ago) link

Holy fuck! No wonder I like the guy so much!

M Matos (M Matos), Saturday, 24 August 2002 22:23 (twenty-one years ago) link

matos he hung in my hood iirc

Josh (Josh), Saturday, 24 August 2002 23:40 (twenty-one years ago) link

Yeah, I lived in the Twin Cities area from the age of 1 onwards. I went to high school in Hastings (so it is more St. Paul than Minneapolis). I can tell you all kinds of fucked up stories about that town.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Sunday, 25 August 2002 12:12 (twenty-one years ago) link

I'd say the AOI albums are a major development in hip hop: mature music that isn't sapped of its wit or energy, and that doesn't devolve into crankery (PE) or self-parody (LL).

The Twin Cities hereby cast all their votes for "classic."

Keith Harris (kharris1128), Sunday, 25 August 2002 13:56 (twenty-one years ago) link

ha I never voted! but I like de la is dead so you can have mine.

I'd swear there's a thread around here about mature hip-hop that I might have even started but I can't find it.

Josh (Josh), Sunday, 25 August 2002 14:17 (twenty-one years ago) link

Sorry Josh, didn't mean to leave you out. What was the upshot of the "mature hip hop" thread?

Keith Harris (kharris1128), Sunday, 25 August 2002 14:20 (twenty-one years ago) link

five years pass...

notions, soothed the mood

gabbneb, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 17:29 (sixteen years ago) link

the first album kicks the 2nd's ass 8 ways to tuesday

gabbneb, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 17:31 (sixteen years ago) link

"'De La Soul is Dead' is a better album than '3 Feet High...'" is the worst CHALLENGING OPINION in music criti

Dom Passantino, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 17:34 (sixteen years ago) link

three feet high and rising was the first
hip-hop album i ever bought. buhloone
mind state was the second. it would be
cool to say bionix was the last one. but
it wasn't. it was good, though. the slick
rick one. 'held down.' 'bionix.' those
other ones.

hip-hop people reviewing bionix all said
it sucked. indie rock type people reviewing
it said it was another classic from de
la soul. those are the only people who
reviewed it.

-- DK, Thursday, August 22, 2002 3:46 PM (5 years ago) Bookmark Link

o.O

and what, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:16 (sixteen years ago) link

i had a thing for making paper since papier-mache

gabbneb, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:16 (sixteen years ago) link

dude you were the one that told me 3 Ft High was dylan's first rap album

Alex in Baltimore, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:17 (sixteen years ago) link

I heard De La Soul Is Dead in its entirety before I heard Three Feet High and Rising in its entirety, which is part of the reason why I hold this allegedly controversial CHALLENGING OPINION.

HI DERE, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:20 (sixteen years ago) link

its totally not a challenging opinion wtf people - but buhloone mind state is better than both of them anyway

i say this as someone who has listed to those three albums more than anyone on this board im sure

jhøshea, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:26 (sixteen years ago) link

production on Buhloone is less unique than on 1st 2. They're all great. 2nd>>>1st>>>3rd.

Granny Dainger, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:28 (sixteen years ago) link

buhloone mind state remains my pick too

PappaWheelie V, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:29 (sixteen years ago) link

3>2>1

but theyre all great obv

jhøshea, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:31 (sixteen years ago) link

1st > 3rd > 2nd

I heard De La Soul Is Dead in its entirety before I heard Three Feet High and Rising in its entirety, which is part of the reason why I hold this allegedly controversial CHALLENGING OPINION.

this is what I assume of anyone who holds same

gabbneb, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:34 (sixteen years ago) link

lol no i had 3 feet around when it cam out it kinda marked my devolution from someone who just listened to the radio and had a few albums to a music obsessive. i remember seeing the video for me myself and i on bet at a friends house and being all wtf is this must have! then dead was the last tape i had before i got a cd player. i taped ringringring off the radio before the album came out and was all wtf at the new sound but it grew on me fast. then when buhloon came out it was just <3<3<3

3 feet is nice but they got sooo much better at everything

jhøshea, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:55 (sixteen years ago) link

3 feet is nice but they got sooo much better at everything

I pretty much agree with this.

HI DERE, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:59 (sixteen years ago) link

so do I. 1st and 2nd are both more "fun" (having guru guest on a track will do that, though har har). 3rd I guess a lil TOO good ie refined.

Granny Dainger, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:03 (sixteen years ago) link

(tho i guess having biz guest cancels out guru)

Granny Dainger, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:06 (sixteen years ago) link

omglol i am watching de la videos on youtube omg!

jhøshea, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:11 (sixteen years ago) link

http://static1.videosift.com/thumbs/d/el/De_La_Soul_Me_Myself_And_I.jpg

this hair whaaaa!

jhøshea, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:13 (sixteen years ago) link

2>4>1=3

jaxon, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:14 (sixteen years ago) link

For a long time I wrote off the AOI Bionix lps, but on repeat listen I think they are tight. I saw them perform at DEMF in 01 and they were great.

U-Haul, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:15 (sixteen years ago) link

they got better at smooth jazz soul jams. but the 1st album is alive in a way those that follow are not and it's got the best wordplay by far. also, i like hippies and the color yellow.

gabbneb, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:16 (sixteen years ago) link

Buhloone Mind State is better than the first two. It's like desert island material.

Euler, Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:18 (sixteen years ago) link

The tracklist from that promo LP version of the second album is a lot clearer and a more lucid statement. Since their songs are already built upon digression, adding more digressions in-between the songs is overkill, especially once you've read the comic strip in the liner notes and understand the general attitude behind the album.

Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 11 March 2023 16:04 (one year ago) link

ahh it was buhloone not dead that had the animal noises on it. one of those things i had only ever heard about, not actually heard.

also i think it's important to remember the format and media of the time: no internet, 900 numbers, jerky boys hadn't even come around yet, and most people didn't even have cable at that point. even with music there was an expectation of one-liners, "outrageous" and "wacky" situations... cheap entertainment basically! my point in bringing this up is: in 1991 it was still very much acceptable to thematically create an album the same way you would a movie. they certainly weren't the first music act to do it, but there is a sense of sarcasm and embellishment (especially on the second album) that is 100% theirs. it's one of the reasons i revere that album so much: it's like hiphop vaudeville.

''can be prusuaded to show gayness'' (Austin), Saturday, 11 March 2023 16:37 (one year ago) link

I revere it, don't always wanna hear it

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 11 March 2023 17:30 (one year ago) link

That's it! Thanks Josh, I was wondering why I couldn't find anything on that, but I was searching for the wrong album.

Haven't heard it myself either.

birdistheword, Saturday, 11 March 2023 22:44 (one year ago) link

I wonder if Greg Kott didn’t get it:

‘While renouncing the conventional topics of hard-core hip-hop (guns, ho's, inner-city pathology masquerading as manhood), it flirts with cultural and musical criticism on such cuts as "Ego Trippin' (Part Two)" and "I Am I Be." The braying of a donkey and the mantra "It might blow up but it won't go pop" also provide an oblique, running commentary on the hip-hop nation.’

INDEPENDENTS DAY BY STEVEN SPILBERG (President Keyes), Saturday, 11 March 2023 22:48 (one year ago) link

Looks like he got one.

Mark G, Sunday, 12 March 2023 10:09 (one year ago) link

this is a cool find - Shortie No Mass from Buhloone Mindstate finally released her first solo album in 2021, it's a nice old school NT vibe, love that this isn't much different than a debut album from her would have been in 1993

https://shortienomass.bandcamp.com/album/here-goes-nothing

she also put up a single from those days, produced by rockwilder and da beatminerz, i think this was all that ever came out then

article:
https://daily.bandcamp.com/features/shortie-no-mass-here-goes-nothing-interview

thanks!

here's the old single: https://vindig.bandcamp.com/album/like-this-u-like-my-style

na (NA), Monday, 13 March 2023 14:10 (one year ago) link

yeah i posted on random old rap about shortie's album some time ago — it's really good and the first voice you hear is phife!

''can be prusuaded to show gayness'' (Austin), Monday, 13 March 2023 14:51 (one year ago) link

Yo and we won't stop rocking til we retire
But since the economy is such in them dire straits
That isn't an option

least said, sergio mendes (sic), Tuesday, 21 March 2023 01:23 (one year ago) link

The big rediscovery for me from all of this has been Buhloone Mindstate, which I liked at the time but it was never a big part of my listening the way the first two were — they were very much a college band for me, the first two albums came out while I was in school, so by the time of the third one I was off listening to a bunch of other stuff, De La Soul weren't "the future" anymore. BUT. Wow that's a great album. Maybe their best! I was surprised by how much of it I remembered even knowing that I'd never listened to it much. So anyway, I know I'm 30 years late on that, but it has been a real pleasure to dig back into.

It's the best kind of "mature" record - full of complexity and emotional depth, while the shift from dayglo sampledelia to more muted jazz shades (not to mention Maceo Parker's interludes) complements the shift in text. Complicated, not hard.

dicbo=v2-ubswizzb&hrt (stevie), Tuesday, 21 March 2023 08:50 (one year ago) link

The best kind of mature album in that it also revels in play.

the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 21 March 2023 09:17 (one year ago) link

Yes, definitely.

Anyway... Vibe. Vibration.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ6JXCaOttw

dicbo=v2-ubswizzb&hrt (stevie), Tuesday, 21 March 2023 09:24 (one year ago) link

god what a great performance. wouldn't be surprised if pos and ma$e go on tour with a ringer (like, say, the mighty mos def)

deadmauZedong (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 21 March 2023 15:11 (one year ago) link

Yaasin would be great, just make sure he has his passport

dicbo=v2-ubswizzb&hrt (stevie), Tuesday, 21 March 2023 15:43 (one year ago) link

Just relistening to Is Dead this afternoon, loving the line of "curiosity killed the cat" in My Brother Is A Basehead, given Ring Ring Ring is based around a hook from a Curiosity Killed The Cat track.

dicbo=v2-ubswizzb&hrt (stevie), Tuesday, 21 March 2023 16:48 (one year ago) link

OMG. That Fallon clip!

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Friday, 24 March 2023 07:18 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

lovely verse about Dave by Pos on the new Statik Selectah album

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZdG1BhF6Mg

love this :(

ludicrously capacious bag (voodoo chili), Monday, 12 June 2023 15:57 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Ha, sorry. Meant to post:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8mfaAodcXU

Tommy Gets His Consoles Out (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 4 August 2023 19:31 (eleven months ago) link

two months pass...

On tour opening for Nas/Wu, with Kweli on second mic. Listened to one set on youtube and iirc they did three De La songs, two Kweli, the Pos verse of Rock.Co.Kane twice, and then Pharoahe Monch came out and did Simon Says, fin.

vashti funyuns (sic), Tuesday, 10 October 2023 18:24 (nine months ago) link

Who is the "we" - is Mase involved? It was just Pos (plus Dres, Yaasin Bey and Prince Paul) when they played London in spring.

Lumpy pillows, kiss my ass. Put that in your book (stevie), Tuesday, 10 October 2023 20:09 (nine months ago) link

Sorry, I mean who is the "they"?

Lumpy pillows, kiss my ass. Put that in your book (stevie), Tuesday, 10 October 2023 20:15 (nine months ago) link

Mase, Pos and Kweli.

vashti funyuns (sic), Tuesday, 10 October 2023 20:38 (nine months ago) link

one month passes...

30th anniversary edition of buhloone has hit spotify. it's added some bonus tracks from the clear lake audiotorium ep and the infamous "can't beat my mindstate" outtake.

phife, dave, and biz trading verses on "sh.fe.mcs" ———————————— the biggest sigh. never ending respect.

"another slice of death, please." (Austin), Sunday, 3 December 2023 21:50 (seven months ago) link

two months pass...

always loved this song it's mentioned once in this thread

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKQmZBB-Sns

(•̪●) (carne asada), Friday, 1 March 2024 21:49 (four months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJrUceBbVxY

birdistheword, Friday, 8 March 2024 09:00 (four months ago) link

That is awesome!

Wait this is SO good. God i love this album so much. Drove 3 hours to see them in 1996. Was so worth it.

Benson and the Jets (ENBB), Friday, 8 March 2024 10:34 (four months ago) link

Got a bit choked when Pos did the Plug Two verse

Yes :(

Benson and the Jets (ENBB), Friday, 8 March 2024 10:37 (four months ago) link

Glad Paul is with them. He was great at the Royal Albert Hall show last year. They should tour with Q-Tip as some DAISY Age survivors posse. That would be AWESOME.

Got a bit choked when Pos did the Plug Two verse

― Is he an evil man who makes chocolate or is the chocolate itself evil? (stevie), Friday, March 8, 2024 4:35 AM (three hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

yea wasn't expecting it but that got me too

frogbs, Friday, 8 March 2024 14:27 (four months ago) link

Impressed by the generous Donald Fagen shoutout after Steely Dan sued them into oblivion

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Friday, 8 March 2024 14:38 (four months ago) link

just confirms what i always suspected about De La Soul: they are very nice dudes

frogbs, Friday, 8 March 2024 14:39 (four months ago) link

absolutely

Muad'Doob (Moodles), Friday, 8 March 2024 14:40 (four months ago) link

Steely Dan did not sue De La Soul

Pierre Delecto, Friday, 8 March 2024 14:46 (four months ago) link

That was the Turtles.

Chris L, Friday, 8 March 2024 15:13 (four months ago) link

can anyone think of any tunes similar to "Eye Know"? its got such an amazing vibe to it

frogbs, Friday, 8 March 2024 15:31 (four months ago) link

steely dan sued lord tariq and peter gunz

the defenestration of prog (voodoo chili), Friday, 8 March 2024 15:51 (four months ago) link

Mad Lads - "Make This Young Lady Mine"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irbUNcNRl5I

citation needed (Steve Shasta), Friday, 8 March 2024 16:04 (four months ago) link

this is legitimately one of the best late night performances i've ever seen!

the defenestration of prog (voodoo chili), Friday, 8 March 2024 16:09 (four months ago) link

can anyone think of any tunes similar to "Eye Know"? its got such an amazing vibe to it

Thoughts in the Buttermilk - Justin Warfield

enochroot, Friday, 8 March 2024 19:57 (four months ago) link

four months pass...

I wrote a biography of De La Soul for a small press, trying to convey their story/career in under 200 pages. Forgive the moment of promotion, just wanting to get the word out to people who'd be interested - https://www.jcardpress.com/books/p/de-la-soul

erasingclouds, Monday, 8 July 2024 00:59 (four days ago) link

I for one have no issue with self-promotion here, thanks for letting us know it exists!

a based robot like Bender (stevie), Monday, 8 July 2024 08:01 (four days ago) link

Yeah this looks like a cool series, will check it out!

waste of compute (One Eye Open), Monday, 8 July 2024 13:35 (four days ago) link


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