De La Soul – “3 Feet High and Rising” Album Anniversary

De La Soul released their first studio album “3 Feet High and Rising” on March 14, 1989.  The album was produced by Prince Paul and is considered one of the most influential albums in Hip Hop history. While the majority of rappers were leaning on the “gangsta” side of rap, De La came with the “Daisy Age” laid back type of sound and lyrics.

The album starts off with a game show skit that asks “How many feathers in a Perdue chicken?” and “How many times did the Batmobile get a flat?”.  The game show continues throughout the entire album.

The first track has a very 60’s sound with “The Magic Number”.  The tune is infectious.  They sample a children’s song and even the great Johnny Cash saying “3 feet high and rising”.

Who doesn’t love “Jenifa Taught Me”?  Yes, Jenifa is code name for a woman’s privates as Derwin/Jimmy is to the male parts, and by now…

“The downstairs, where we met
I brought records, she cassettes
Lost the breaks, found her shape
Jenifa, oh Jenny
Transcripts showed more than flirt
‘I love daisies’ read her shirt
Grabbed my jeans, Jimmy screamed
Jenifa, oh Jenny”

On “Ghetto Thang” they get serious about the problems in the ghetto.  You usually don’t hear them get this serious, but it sounds dope for a change!

“Which is the one to blame when bullets blow
Either Peter, Jane, or John or Joe
But Joe can’t shoot a gun, he’s always drunk
And Peter’s pimping Jane, and John’s a punk
Infested are the halls, also the brains
Daddy’s broken down from ghetto pains
Mommy’s flying high, the truth is shown
The kids are all alone
‘Cause it’s just the ghetto thang ”

This album does not stop!  On “Eye Know” they sample Steely Dan’s “Peg” and the song puts you in a good mood right away!  It will have you singing, “I know I love you gurl…” and whistling over and over again!

“Potholes In My Lawn”.  One of the dopest and most obscure rap songs I have ever heard in my life.  It has a country “twang” to it and again, it is infectious!  The track is practically a “Sucker Mc’s for 1988.  This ish put De La on the map!  The track samples “Magic Mountain” by War with rhymes like,

“I’ve found that it’s not wise to leave my garden untended
‘Cause eyes has now pardoned all laws of privacy
Even paws are after my writer see
After seeing that everyone’s sayin’ what to do when suckers are preyin’
Upon my well-guarded spreadsheets
Oh why, hell does it send up fleets”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=1x2FQGSHrFM

On “Say No Go” they sample Hall and Oates (ummm…yessir!) “I Can’t Go For That” not only the voice sample but the beat to bring awareness that drugs are not the business!

“Nah, no my brother
No my sister
Try to get hip to this
Word, word to the mother
I’ll tell the truth
So bear my witness
Fly like birds of a feather
Drugs are like pleather
You don’t wanna wear it
No need to ask that question
Just don’t mention
You know what the answer is”

“Plug Tunin” sounds like they are rappin in outerspace, and “Buddy” brings fellow Native Tongues Q-Tip and Jungle Brothers to talk about…what else?  Jimmy.  Jimbrowski!  But the track that got everybody dancing and crossed over faster than a wildfire was “Me Myself and I”.  It heavily sampled Funkadelic’s “Not Just Knee Deep”  and brought the funk to eastcoast Hip Hop just like EMPD did with Zapp.  Since the media were calling them Hip Hop Hippies, they squashed all that “labeling” when Pos raps,

“Now you tease my Plug One style
And my Plug One spectacles
You say Plug One and Two are hippies
No, we’re not, that’s pure Plug bull
Always pushing that we’ve formed an image
There’s no need to lie
When it comes to being Plug One
It’s just me myself and I”

The album is a classic and deserves a “5 Mic Rating” in my book!  Pos, Trugoy, Maceo and Prince Paul made something so unique that it would be hard to imitate.  De La gave us so much classic material, they deserve the “legendary” status!  Salute!

-Al.E

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  1. That review was RIGHT ON! Prince Paul wo never get his true props because he never produces what at the time is the most popular. . This album was perfect, so was A Prince among Thieves. #HORRIBLY UNDERRATED

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