Chill Corner – De La Soul
De La Soul is a hip-hop trio formed in 1987 in Long Island, New York. The trio is composed of rappers Posdnuos, Dave and Maseo. As a prominent member of the Native Tongues Posse, De La Soul’s lyricism and style reflected a more positive impression of hip-hop, as opposed to violent and aggressive vibes that often marked hip-hop. De La Soul has been active since its founding, and released eight albums. Its earlier albums — produced by Prince Paul — are some of the most classic in the genre. Each album had its own style and messages. These albums include “3 Feet High and Rising” (1989), “De La Soul Is Dead” (1991) and “Stakes is High” (1996), for which Prince Paul was absent.
De La Soul’s first album “3 Feet High and Rising” was met with commercial success, and has been hailed as a classic of the hip-hop genre. It features a heightened sense of young lightheartedness, with more playful lyrics. So much so, that people initially thought of De La Soul as hippies. The song “Eye Know” emphasizes the importance of love in relationships and life in general. It features more references to far less graphic and more loving references to sexuality and relationships than is commonly seen in rap. “Me Myself and I” is easily one of the most popular songs from De La Soul period. The sound features a clear sample of classic Funkadelic song “(Not Just) Knee Deep” that gives the song a funkier vibe. The lyrics establish De La Soul as a breath of fresh air with individuality and creativeness.
De La Soul’s second album, “De La Soul is Dead,” was less commercially successful, but has gained much respect with its criticism of the increasing violence in hip-hop. It features a higher focus on lyricism, as it had serious messages to relay to the audience. However, it still managed to keep a lot of its lighthearted vibe. “A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays” is an upbeat song that pays homage to the fun times people have on Saturday nights. “Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa” tells a bleak story about a girl who was sexually abused by her father, who was a department store Santa Claus. One day she snaps and kills him. This song marked a much different tone from the group that might have made a negative impression on its fan base, but has been appreciated far more over time for its storytelling.
The album “Stakes is High” performed poorly commercially, but received high marks from critics. The album marked a shift in sound and style, as producer Prince Paul was absent from this album. This album seemed to emphasize De La Soul’s exceptional flow and lyricism. “4 More” is a good song from this album that tells the story of three guys trying to get the girls. “Stakes Is High” is one of the most serious songs De La Soul has made. It’s dark and provides a sharp criticism to the state of crime in the mid-1990s and the declining quality of hip-hop. This was a huge switch from the mostly lighthearted and fun vibes for which De La Soul is widely known.
De La Soul is widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop groups of all time. Its predominantly positive energy and playfulness gave hip-hop a much needed positive vibe. It can also strike at the heart of important issues facing society and the hip-hop community. The band paid homage to funk legends such as Parliament-Funkadelic, and were a huge influence in the hip-hop world with its own style.