Fathers of Alt Hip Hop – De La Soul

De La Soul is an American Hip Hop group formed in 1987 when the group members were still in their high school. The group had three members, Kelvin Mercer, Vincent Mason and Jude Jolicoeur. The group’s talent was discovered by the famous disc jockey, rapper and music producer Prince Paul. The song “Plug Tunin” caught his attention and he went forth to produce their first album 3 Feet High and Rising in 1989. One of their biggest achievements has been winning a Grammy award in collaboration with Gorillaz.

The group is popularly known for alternative hip hop specifically following the East Coast Hip Hop style, which differs from the other hip hop styles primarily due to its lyrical diversity. In contrast to the old school hip-hop, the east coast regional subgenre demands a special emphasis on lyrics, which often comes with metaphors.

This group of guys came to the limelight for their different and peculiar style, good combination of words and a great flow of lyrics. Their first album 3 Feet High was a great hit in this genre. Very soon they earned their place in the Native Tongues Posse alongside other popular bands like A Tribe called Quest, Queen Latifah and many other prominent names in this genre.

The lyrics of their initial songs were centered on peace and happiness amongst all. They also introduced a “D.A.I.S.Y age”, which was the abbreviated form of “da inner sound, y’all”. Following the success of their first album they again rose to the top of the charts with their hit single “Me, Myself and I”. In 1991 they came up with their second album De La Soul Is Dead (cover of the album depicting a broken daisy flower). The songs were centered on how the essence of Hip Hop was getting lost somewhere. The album had many single hits like “Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa” and “Ring Ring Ring”.

Although not as popular as the first album, this album went on to become one of the classics in its genre. They further released their third album “Buhloon Mindstate”. The album saw the group maturing in its music style. This was their first where they introduced saxophone and collaborated with the Japanese hip hopper Kan Takagi and Scha Dara Parr. The first album that the group produced on their own was “Stakes Is High” in 1996. In 2000 they planned to launch a 3 series album “Artificial Official Intelligence” (AOI). While they launched the first two albums, the third one never happened. From then up till 2004 they produced many hit singles. They also toured for the Unlimited Sunshine tour. In 2004 they again came up with an album “The grind Date”.

In 2005 they collaborated with the Gorillaz and came up with the super hit and a Grammy Winning song “Feel Good Inc.”. The song won under the category of “Best Pop Vocal Collaboration”. After that they went ahead producing many singles and touring in the Rock the Bells Tour. The group has also worked in collaboration with Nike sportswear to make songs for their brand. Their latest albums have been De La Soul’s Plug1 and Plug2. The group is intact even today and is planning to collaborate with Prince Paul yet again to bring about more wonderful music to the world.

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