Category: de la soul

On this day in music history: June 10, 1989 – …

On this day in music history: June 10, 1989 – “Me, Myself And I” by De La Soul hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also topping the Club Play chart for 1 week on June 3, 1989, and peaking at #34 on the Hot 100 on July 22, 1989. Written by Kelvin Mercer, David Jolicoeur, Vincent Mason, Paul Huston, George Clinton and Philippé Wynne, it is the biggest hit for the rap group from Amityville, L.I., NY. Issued as the third single from their landmark debut album “3 Feet High And Rising”, “Me, Myself And I” takes a pointed and humorous look at being branded “hippies” by others within the Hip Hop community and the media. Having never conformed to the typical B-Boy look (track suits, gold jewelry, sunglasses, expensive sneakers, Kangol hats or baseball caps worn backwards) and posturing of their contemporaries, make the group stand out.

Sampling Funkadelic’s 1979 classic “(Not Just) Knee Deep”, the accompanying music video depicts the group as high school students, dreading the fact they’re placed in a class with a teacher named “Prof. Def Beat”. The humorous clip that also features cameo appearances by their producer Prince Paul, as well as Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest and comedian Jim Turner (as Randee Of The Redwoods), De La find themselves being teased and harrassed by their class mates and teacher for their non-conformist style. The video ends with the trio throwing drop slips in the professor’s face, and walking out of the class. Released as a single on February 14, 1989, “Me, Myself And I” becomes a street, radio and club smash. Also released as a “three sided” 12" single, it features a remix of “Me, Myself And I” that replaces the original Funkadelic sample with GQ’s “Disco Nights (Rock-Freak)”, and includes the non LP tracks “Ain’t Hip To Be Labeled A Hippie”, “What’s More From The Soundtrack Hell On 1st Avenue” and “Brain Washed Follower”. “Brain Washed” introduces the character “Jeff”, a teenage Hip Hop fan who ask them why they don’t have cars, jewelry, beepers or any of the typical possessions that other rappers are seen with. On the commercial US 12", the second side features the track cut as a “double groove”, meaning that depending on where the stylus is placed, it will play either the instrumental version of “Me, Myself And I” or “Brain Washed Follower”. Featuring a hype sticker on the front of the die cut sleeve, the 12" also comes with a bonus sticker with De La Soul’s logo. “Me, Myself And I” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 14, 1991 -…

On this day in music history: May 14, 1991 – “De La Soul Is Dead”, the second album by De La Soul is released. Produced by Prince Paul and De La Soul, it is recorded at Calliope Studios in New York City from Mid 1990 – Early 1991. After the groundbreaking success of their landmark debut album “3 Feet High And Rising”, De La Soul deliberately move away from the sound and image established on that album, on the follow up. Shaking off being labeled “hippies” by the music press and many fans for stretching the boundaries of hip hop on the first album, De La declares that the “D.A.I.S.Y. ("Da Inner Sound Y’all”) Age is over on their sophomore release “De La Soul Is Dead”. The group drive the point home further by featuring an illustration of an overturned and broken flowerpot of daisies on the front cover. Once again working with producer and DJ Prince Paul, the songs are linked together by a series of skits featuring Jeff, the character introduced on the earlier non album B-sides “Brainwashed Follower Of Fashion” and “The Mack Daddy On The Left”, finding a tape of De La’s album discarded in the trash. Jeff is beat up and robbed of the tape by a pair of bullies (played by DJ Maseo and Mista Lawnge of Black Sheep). The skit portions of the album are followed by a turn the page tone taken from a children’s “listen and read” record. It ends on a sardonic and ironic note, with the bullies throwing the tape back in the trash. Musically, it is as diverse and eclectic as the first, but with more of an emphasis on R&B, funk and jazz samples. The subject matter of the songs run a wide gamut, from the group lampooning wannabe rappers looking to get put on (“Ring, Ring, Ring (Ha Ha Hey)” (#3 Rap, #22 R&B), to the more serious topic of child sexual abuse (“Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”). It spins off three singles including “A Rollerskating Jam Called Saturdays” (#6 Club Play, #43 R&B) and “Keepin’ The Faith” (the double A-side flip to “Millie”). Clocking in at over seventy three and a half minutes, Tommy Boy services the album to radio and club DJ’s as a special double vinyl pressing (stock pressings are pressed on a single LP, and suffer from greatly diminished sound quality), packaged in a custom double pocket sleeve, and limited to 2,000 numbered copies. In time this promo pressing has become a sought after collector’s item, and has been widely bootlegged. The label reissues the vinyl on double vinyl in 2008. The vinyl edition is reissued by the vinyl subscription service Vinyl Me, Please in March of 2019. Limited to only 1,000 numbered copies, the double LP set is pressed on yellow and green split colored vinyl. “De La Soul Is Dead” peaks at number number twenty four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty six on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 3, 1989 – …

On this day in music history: March 3, 1989 – “3 Feet High And Rising”, the debut album by De La Soul is released. Produced by Prince Paul, it is recorded at Calliope Studios in New York from Early 1988 – Early 1989. Hailing from Amityville, Long Island, NY, the rap trio featuring Posdnuos (Kelvin Mercer), Trugoy The Dove (David Jolicoeur) and DJ Pasemaster Mase (Vincent Mason) along with Stetsasonic DJ Prince Paul producing, create one of the “masterworks of Hip Hop”. Titled “3 Feet High And Rising” after a lyric in the Johnny Cash song “Five Feet High and Rising” (sampled on “The Magic Number”), it eschews the normal variety of James Brown/R&B based samples, and typical B-Boy lyrical style and posturing. With its wide range of innovative and quirky sampling, combined with often humorous and thought provoking lyrics, changes the face of rap music and broadens its audience. An immediate critical and commercial success, it spins off five singles including “Me, Myself & I” (#1 R&B, #1 Club Play, #34 Pop). “Say No Go” (#32 R&B, #3 Club Play) and “Buddy” (#18 R&B, #27 Club Play). The colorful dayglo cover and inner sleeve artwork, is created by artists Toby Mott and Paul Spencer of the Grey Organisation (GO) British art collective. The album is remastered and reissued as a two CD deluxe edition in 2001. Originally issued on a single vinyl LP in 1989, it is reissued as a double LP set. In 2010, the album is named to the registry of the National Recording Preservation Board by the Library Of Congress. In 2014, De La Soul make their entire back catalog available free on the internet to fans. The group make the move when then master rights holder WMG (Warner Music Group), does not make it available online. The impasse is due to De La’s original contract with Tommy Boy not including the rights for digital streaming. As of this writing, De La’s back catalog is now back with Tommy Boy. The label announces in February of 2019, that it will make it available for online streaming. Though Tommy Boy does this without making sure all samples are cleared (to protect the group from potential lawsuits), or renegotiating De La Soul’s contract to give them a fair share of royalties. Claiming that they still owe over $2 million in unrecouped advances and other fees, De La Soul is offered only a 10% royalty on digital streaming, while Tommy Boy receives 90%. Due to negative public outcry, the label immediately postpones the digital release De La’s catalog, until the matter is properly settled. To commemorate its thirtieth anniversary, “3 Feet High” receives a limited edition vinyl pressing through the subscription service Vinyl Me, Please in March of 2019. The VMP release is pressed on clear multi-colored splatter vinyl. “3 Feet And Rising” spends five weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number twenty four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: May 14, 1991 – &…

On this day in music history: May 14, 1991 – “De La Soul Is Dead”, the second album by De La Soul is released. Produced by Prince Paul and De La Soul, it is recorded at Calliope Studios in New York City from Mid 1990 – Early 1991. After the groundbreaking success of their landmark debut album “3 Feet High And Rising”, De La Soul consciously and deliberately move away from the sound and image established on that album, when beginning work on the follow up. Shaking off being labeled “hippies” by the music press and many fans for stretching the boundaries of hip hop on the first album, De La declares that the “D.A.I.S.Y. ("Da Inner Sound Y’all”) Age is over on their sophomore release “De La Soul Is Dead”. The group drive the point home further by featuring an illustration of an overturned and broken flowerpot of daisies on the front cover. Once again working with producer and DJ Prince Paul, the songs are linked together by a series of skits featuring Jeff, the character introduced on the earlier non album B-sides “Brainwashed Follower Of Fashion” and “The Mack Daddy On The Left”, finding a tape of De La’s album discarded in the trash. Jeff is beat up and robbed of the tape by a pair of bullies (played by DJ Maseo and Mista Lawnge of Black Sheep). The skit portions of the album are followed by a turn the page tone taken from a children’s “listen and read” record, ending on an sardonic and ironic note with the bullies throwing the tape back in the trash. Musically, it is as diverse and eclectic as the first, but with more of an emphasis on R&B, funk and jazz samples. The subject matter of the songs themselves run a wide gamut, from the group lampooning wannabe rappers looking to get put on (“Ring, Ring, Ring (Ha Ha Hey)” (#3 Rap, #22 R&B), to the more serious topic of child sexual abuse (“Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”).  It spins off three singles including “A Rollerskating Jam Called Saturdays” (#6 Club Play, #43 R&B) and “Keepin’ The Faith” (the double A-side flip to “Millie”). Clocking in at over seventy three and a half minutes, Tommy Boy services the album to radio and club DJ’s as a special double vinyl pressing (stock pressings are pressed on a single LP, and suffer from greatly diminished sound quality), packaged in a custom double pocket sleeve, and limited to 2,000 individually numbered copies. In time this promo pressing has become a sought after collector’s item, and has been widely bootlegged. The label reissues the vinyl on double vinyl in 2008, but uses the standard cover art featured on the commercial release. “De La Soul Is Dead” peaks at number number twenty four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty six on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: March 3, 1989 – …

On this day in music history: March 3, 1989 – “3 Feet High And Rising”, the debut album by De La Soul is released. Produced by Prince Paul, it is recorded at Calliope Studios in New York from Early 1988 – Early 1989. Hailing from Amityville, Long Island, NY, the rap trio featuring Posdnuos (Kelvin Mercer), Trugoy The Dove (David Jolicoeur) and DJ Pasemaster Mase (Vincent Mason) along with Stetsasonic DJ Prince Paul producing, create what becomes regarded as one of the “masterworks of Hip Hop”. The album eschews the normal variety of James Brown/R&B based samples and typical B-Boy lyrical style and posturing. With its wide range of innovative and quirky sampling combined with often humorous and thought provoking lyrics, changes the face of rap music and broadens its audience. A critical and commercial success upon its release, it spins off five singles including “Me, Myself & I” (#1 R&B). The album is remastered and reissued as a two CD deluxe edition in 2001, with the first disc containing the contents of the original CD release. Disc two is a bonus CD featuring original 12" mixes and non-album B-sides. Originally issued on a single vinyl LP in 1989, it is reissued as a double LP set for greatly improved fidelity and volume. In 2013, Rhino Records reissues the double vinyl set in a limited edition pressed on pink and yellow vinyl, as an exclusive through retailer Urban Outfitters. In 2010, the album is named to the registry of the National Recording Preservation Board by the Library Of Congress. “3 Feet And Rising” spends five weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number twenty four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.