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De La Soul, De La Stream

By Marc Zisman |

After years of legal wrangling, the New York trio's discography will finally be available on streaming platforms in March 2023. Led by the masterpiece "3 Feet High & Rising"!

In 1989, De La Soul revolutionised rap with their debut album 3 Feet High & Rising, considered the Sgt. Pepper's of hip hop. With original samples, avant-garde and colourful production and a spirit that was more intellectual than hedonistic or violent, the music of Kevin "Posdnuos" Mercer, Dave "Trugoy the Dove" Jolicoeur and Vincent "Maseo" Mason was a veritable tsunami of freshness, rich in groove, on a rather stereotyped rap planet. A quasi-hippie alternative that will inspire many. 3 Feet High & Rising is probably one of the last great records of the 20th century that is not available in a digital format. And for good reason. The avalanche of samples with which the Long Island trio and their producer Prince Paul built this masterpiece has never been legally cleared! Serge Gainsbourg, Johnny Cash, Syl Johnson, the Monkees, Cymande, Lynn Collins, the Steve Miller Band, the Turtles, Sly and the Family Stone, Bo Diddley, Billy Joel, the Bar-Kays and a thousand others are among the names that run through this album, which will be 34 years old in 2023.

However, 2023 is a new year that comes harbouring good news: the first six De La Soul albums will be released on March 3rd 2023 on the digital planet, in streaming and Hi-Res 24Bit download: 3 Feet High & Rising of course but also De La Soul Is Dead (1991), Buhloone Mindstate (1993), Stakes Is High (1996), Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000) and AOI: Bionix (2001).

A real fake concept album, 3 Feet High & Rising is presented in the form of a radio game where hilarious sketches and crazy sequences are interspersed with songs that have become historical... When De La Soul burst onto the hip-hop scene, their look was lightyears ahead of their colleagues': no 24-carat gold chains, no 4x4s with tinted windows, no Glock 19s sticking out of their pockets and no models in XS thongs by the pool in their videos! In short, no macho code on the horizon, but rather a spirit of peace and love. Some will even call them the hippies of hip hop, the Long Island trio brandishing a positive attitude mixing pacifism, feminism and Afrocentrism. But De la Soul was far from alone on their island, with the Jungles Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and Queen Latifah joining them in this positive and funky rap fiesta under the name Native Tongues. More than three decades after its release, 3 Feet High & Rising has certainly not aged.


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