I don’t like to be wrong, so I try to make sure that I hardly ever am. And when I am I try to make sure that hardly anyone notices (this life coaching thing’s not really all that complicated is it!).
I found out today however that I was wrong on day 56 when I said that the best hip-hop album ever released was De La Soul's first album 'Three feet high and rising'.
Repeated plays recently have shown me that, in fact, the greatest hip-hop album is actually our cassette experiment subject today, 'De La Soul is dead'. Everything that 'Three feet high' has, 'Is dead' has too. But it also has much more. So complex is this album that repeated plays reward the listener with a new experience every time.
From the dying daisies on the cassette insert to the lyrics on many of the tracks it's pretty clear that Maseo, Trugoy and Posdunos (or whatever they’re choosing to call themselves nowadays) were only too keen to leave behind the hippy 'daisy age' reputation perhaps unfairly earned by their first album.
Flowing effortlessly from funny to serious and back again, Kermit, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder and Serge Gainsbourg are just a handful of the many icons who pop along for the ride.
Fantastic tracks abound and it's almost unfair to single any out - the most immediate are probably ‘Talkin’ bout hey love’ and ‘A roller skating jam named “Saturdays”’, but the major joys here are not in the immediates, but in the growers and the developers.
Special mention though must go to the phenomenal cycle that starts about 1/3 through side 2 and just gets better and greater as the album reaches its brilliant climax.
If I've achieved nothing else with this cassette experiment then my rediscovery of this classic is reward enough! Even the skits are fun, and how often can you say that?
Label – Big Life
Year – 1991