RELEASE
1989
LABEL
Tommy Boy
GENRES
Rap, Alternative Rap, Golden Age, Underground Rap

Album Review

The most inventive, assured, and playful debut in hip-hop history, 3 Feet High and Rising not only proved that rappers didn't have to talk about the streets to succeed, but also expanded the palette of sampling material with a kaleidoscope of sounds and references culled from pop, soul, disco, and even country music. Weaving clever wordplay and deft rhymes across two dozen tracks loosely organized around a game-show theme, De La Soul broke down boundaries all over the LP, moving easily from the groovy my-philosophy intro "The Magic Number" to an intelligent, caring inner-city vignette named "Ghetto Thang" to the freewheeling end-of-innocence tale "Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge)." Rappers Posdnuos and Trugoy the Dove talked about anything they wanted (up to and including body odor), playing fast and loose on the mic like Biz Markie. Thinly disguised under a layer of humor, their lyrical themes ranged from true love ("Eye Know") to the destructive power of drugs ("Say No Go") to Daisy Age philosophy ("Tread Water") to sex ("Buddy"). Prince Paul (from Stetsasonic) and DJ Pasemaster Mase led the way on the production end, with dozens of samples from all sorts of left-field artists -- including Johnny Cash, the Mad Lads, Steely Dan, Public Enemy, Hall & Oates, and the Turtles. The pair didn't just use those samples as hooks or drumbreaks -- like most hip-hop producers had in the past -- but as split-second fills and in-jokes that made some tracks sound more like DJ records. Even "Potholes on My Lawn," which samples a mouth harp and yodeling (for the chorus, no less), became a big R&B hit. If it was easy to believe the revolution was here from listening to the rapping and production on Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, with De La Soul the Daisy Age seemed to promise a new era of positivity in hip-hop.
John Bush, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Intro
  2. The Magic Number
  3. Change in Speak
  4. Cool Breeze on the Rocks
  5. Can U Keep a Secret?
  6. Jenifa Taught Me (Derwin's Revenge)
  7. Ghetto Thang
  8. Transmitting Live from Mars
  9. Eye Know
  10. Take It Off
  11. A Little Bit of Soap
  12. Tread Water
  13. Potholes in My Lawn
  14. Say No Go
  15. Do as De La Does
  16. Plug Tunin' [Last Chance to Comprehend]
  17. De la Orgee
  18. Buddy
  19. Description
  20. Me, Myself and I
  21. This Is a Recording 4 Living in a Fulltime Era (L.I.F.E.)
  22. I Can Do Anything (Delacratic)
  23. D.A.I.S.Y. Age
  24. Plug Tunin' [Original 12" Version]