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De La Soul

De La Soul



Beastie Boys fans always seem to be in search of an album that contains the same elements or feel of the beloved sample opus, Paul's Boutique. Beck's Odelay was created by the same creative team (King and Simpson) as Paul's Boutique, so it is often cited as the next best thing to a sequel. Unfortunately, Odelay lacked the hip-hop heart of Paul's Boutique. On the other hand, De La Soul's Three Feet High and Rising album met both criteria - it was richly layered with samples and also was hip-hop through and through.

1989 saw the release of both Paul's Boutique, as a well as Three Feet High and Rising. Where Paul's Boutique only sold 500,000 units, De La Soul soared to over one million in sales thanks in part to the production work of the Prince Paul. Prior to the release of Three Feet High and Rising, De La Soul had shopped around their demo Plug Tunin'. Prince Paul took an immediate liking to the group's demo since they were both from Long Island, New York. That takes us back to 1987, when the trio was just starting out.

De La Soul first formed in 1987, just as the Beastie Boys were delivering their version of rap to Middle America and the rest of the world. At that time, an artist's stage name was huge part of an act's identity. Since De La Soul wanted to incorporate humor and light heartedness into hip-hop, they selected the following alter egos: Posdnuos (Kelvin Mercer), Trugoy (David Jude Jolicoeur), and Pasemaster Mase (Vincent Mason). As it turns out, Posdnuos is just Mercer's DJ name "Sound Sop" spelled backwards and Trugoy is "yogurt" spelled backwards (rumor has it that Jolicoeur is particularly fond of yogurt).

While the Beastie Boys' popularity soared in the 1990s, the once victorious sales champion De La Soul faltered. Whereas other groups tried to change their image and sound to mimic the popular "gangster rappers," De La Soul went on catering to their core fan base. After releasing De La Soul is Dead (1991), Buhloone Mindstate (1993), and Stakes is High (1996) to a less then appreciative hip-hop community, De La Soul went back to the lab to create Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000). It is on this release that we find the long overdue De La Soul/Beastie Boys crossover song "Squat." Although "Squat" came out on Art Official Intelligence, Mike D and Adrock's vocals share equal time with those of De La Soul. So if you are looking to further explore the world of De La Soul and want that Beastie Boys sound, pick up both Three Feet High and Rising as well as Art Official Intelligence.

Tamra Davis Def Squad