46. De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising
It took me a long time to start listening to Alternative Hip-Hop but when I did I immediately got into the Native Tongue stuff. I had been told for a long time that this was one of the best hip hop albums of all time. So when I found it for a dollar at a yard sale I knew I had to purchase it. At the time the only song I knew was their hit Me, Myself and I which was a fun little song but didn’t seem to have much substance to it lyrically.
However 3 Feet High and Rising is nothing if not lyrically amazing. In it’s hour and 6 minutes MCs Posdnuos and Trugoy rap about life, love and peace over top the incredible DJ styles of Mase. The band began to be called the Rap Hippies to their disdain and eventually changed their style in later albums. While the follow-up De La Soul is Dead contains some great material they never made an album quite as perfect as their debut.
The album is packed with lots of short rap songs and skits. Unlike most mainstream rappers De La Soul manages to actually make their skits humorous and satirical as opposed to nonsensical skits about sex and guns (listen to any skit on a DMX album to get what I’m referring to). However the SONGS that really shine are Magic Number, Eye Know and Tread Water.
Magic Number is my favorite of the whole album however. The weird alliteration driven rhymes about peace and harmony are spell-bounding while the positive energy of Eye Know and Tread Water are irresistible. It’s not hard to hear what makes this album so well praised. If you’ve been avoiding this album for whatever reason, you need to make a change immediately.