De La Soul – “De La Soul Is Dead” 25 Year Album Anniversary

De La Soul – “De La Soul Is Dead” 25 Year Album Anniversary

De La Soul released their second studio album “De La Soul Is Dead” on May 14 1991. The album was produced by the incredible and slept-on producer Prince Paul.  The only question remains, Is this album better than their first.  It’s debatable but if you ask me, this one eclipses the first and that is not easy to say.

Warning: If I don’t name your favorite track on this post, do not send me hate mail.  Every track is dope and if I talk about every track, I would run out of space to write.

First and foremost, Prince Paul is a genius.  His production is flawless and is one of the most forgotten and under-appreciated producers of all time.  On “Oodle of O’s” he takes a Tom Wait’s track “Diamond on my Windshield”, samples it’s funky guitar bass groove and makes it into a classic jam.  Of course Pos and Trugoy go to work and make almost every bar end with an “o” sound.

“Canoeing in the river or out into the O
You just know we’re not
So not play the role
Some are lovey-Dovey, ah you crazy crow
Some shake your hand but
(This is called the Show)
I was John Doe, now I’m Mr. Jolico’
Pissed with the witness, and now I adore
O’s got the world ’cause O’s was on tour
Girls gave the O’s and guys, oh for sure
Where they arose, well nobody knows
What do they mean, well here’s how it goes
Oh shoot’s got the O’s when you hold the dough
You know who you are but they didn’t know
And now with respect they flex like a pro
You’re first another nigger but now an Afro “

Right after that we get the fly love track “Talkin About Hey Love” where they sample the great Stevie Wonder’s classic “Hey Love”.  They follow that with the creative “Pease Porridge Hot” where they make nursery rhymes sounds as funky as ever.  Pos goes to work with rhymes like these:

“My name, my name, my name is the Pasta
Now I like, I like I like to plug the real thing
So loose, so loose, so loose with the tap dance,
The funk, the funk, funky funky stuff I bring
My tribe, my tribe, my tribe is known as Native Tongues,
Consists, consists, consists of Jungle, Quest and others
Get played, get played, played a lot on radio
And also, and also, and also by some foul brothers “

Let’s get to the serious stuff now!  How can Prince Paul take a Frankie Vallie “Grease” sample combine it with a Chicago sample and make it funky?  Only PP knows because “A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturday” made you pull out your skates and boogie 1970’s style.  Q-Tip lands a hand and flows perfectly with the track.

“Girl meets boy on Thursday night
Boy was high, girl fly like kite
They hold hands until next day
Boy then lets go, hit his way
Boy rules butt, brags to his boys
Erection brings bad boy joys
Boy thinks of that big fat back
Big black fat love, big black fat
Girl calls boy to stand him up on Saturday

Then Pos comes in a flips it on us accompanied by Young-Holt Unlimited sample.

“Oh Mr. Sprinkler, Mr. Sprinkler
Wet me for one, Mr. Sprinkler
I’m heatin’ high-five in a daze, no split
With a yawn I trip to the dawn
Out comes the bodies following the one idea
It’s clear, rattle to the roll
Hold back up the track, grab your rollerskates y’all
And let’s zip on by
Zip-a-de-doo-dah, let’s zip on by”

If that wasn’t enough, we get three different beats on the incredible “Bitties in the BK Lounge”  and we also get a sort-of part 2 of “Say No Go” with the incredible “My Brother’s A Basehead”.  The track starts off with a guitar sample from “Game Of Love” that’s everything so”groovy” it will make you smile.  The track is fictional (I think) and it speaks about the problems of a man stuck on that crack!

“Throughout high school our minds we’d waste
High off all the cheeba that we could taste
Soon you had converted to nasal sports
Every five minutes cocaine you’d snort
Told me that you needed a stronger fix
Stepped to the crack scene in ’86
Unlike the other drugs where you had control
This substance had engulfed your body and soul
Now from me you lost all respect
Said yo need to put that shit in check”

We are half way thru the album and “Afro Connections at a Hi-5” comes on and you turn up the volume.  This cut is mad dope with a sped up sample of Chuck Jackson’s “And That’s Saying A Lot” and even Mase get’s involved when he spits,

“Givin’ high-five is what I want
So I puff a blunt, I don’t front
I get spliffed, get a stiff
Then I go hump a stunt
Like a pimp pro
(Nah, man, a super ho)
That’s cool ’cause I’m still an Afro bro
Yeah, I’m live for my life is hectic
Every hour, every minute, every second
I keep a level head and stay down to earth
‘Cause I’ve been an Afro since birth”

“Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa” is about a girl who kills her dad who’s playing Santa at Macys because of the fact that he was molesting her.  Dope track but the subject matter is a bit on the serious side.  On “Ring, Ring, Ring” we get to hear De La’s messages and back when you would have music on your answering machine, you would leave this part of the song,

“Hey how ya doin’
Sorry ya can’t get through
Why don’t you leave your name
And your number
And I’ll get back to you
Hey how are ya doin’
Sorry ya can’t get through
But leave your name (uh)
And your number
And I’ll get back to you.”

Pos then explains what he goes thru when he gets amateurs trying to get their demo tapes to be heard,

“Yo, check it, exit the old style
Enters the new
But nothing’s new ’bout being hawked by a crew
Or should I say flock cause around every block
There’s Harry, Dick, and Tom, with a demo in his palm
Now I’m with helping those who want to help themselves
And flaunt a nut that’s doggy as in dope
But it’s not the mood to hear
The tales of limousines and pails
Of money they’ll make like a pro
I be like, “Yo black, just play me the tape””

We are almost done kids, but not until Dres from Black Sheep kills it on “Fanatic of the B Word”.  It’s probably my favorite track on this album and plying at as I write this makes me rewind Dres’s part over and over again.

“Move over just a bit to the right of me
For I cannot see where the booty is
I sit, I’m looking out a foggy window
Crack it just a bit, yo this is showbiz
It’s as though a pound goes around and around
So I give a pound then I do the step
Dres will be with Boca on the side
Can I crack a smile for doz who slept
Phonetics and kinetics perservere
Therefore I kick it
I took the L.I.R.R. but I did not have a ticket
Had some Chinese food but I didn’t have a spoon
I had a dope rhyme but I didn’t have it soon
I’m looking out the window
Day is filled with rain and gloom
Man oh man oh man I hope I find my spoon soon
Eating on some sushi ’cause I know it ain’t cat
(And you can’t beat that with a baseball bat)”

So I forgot “Let, Let Me In” with it’s “Tramp” sample and “Keeping the Faith”  but I can tell you that this album is a classic.  When Arsenio Hall called them the “Hippies of Hip Hop” De La Soul took it personal and revamped their style.  The Daisy Age is dead but the music is even better than the debut.  As soon as you see the cover art on the album, you knew that we were going to get something dope from this trio!  25 years and still bangin!  We salute you Dove, Pos and Mase!

-Al E.

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