De La Soul were a trio from New York, members of the "Native Tongues" posse:
Kelvin "Posdnuos" Mercer, Dave "Trugoy" Jolicoeur and
Vincent "Pasemaster Mase" Mason.
Their phantasmagoric 3 Feet High and Rising (1989) was produced by Stetsasonic's "Prince Paul" Huston in an extravagant manner that was reminiscent of both George Clinton, Van Dyke Parks and Frank Zappa.
(Translated from my old Italian text by/ Tradotto da Nicholas Green)
With 3 Feet High And Rising (1989), De La Soul created a sort of hip-hop
Sgt. Pepper's (honestly more like a soap opera) spanning a vast spectrum of genres and styles: from worldbeat (Can U Keep a Secret) to garage surf (Tread Water), from funky brass (Eye Know, Change In Speak)
to the surrealistic raps that made them famous (Plug Tunin', Jenifa Taught Me,
Me Myself And I); amidst a million one-minute vocal and sonic gags reminiscent of not only George Clinton but also David Peel, Gong, Van Dyke Parks, and (of course) Zappa. With them, progressive rap, eccentric and vaguely hippyish, was born.
Con Three Feet High And Rising (1989) i De La Soul composero una sorta
Sgt Pepper dell'hip-hop (per la verita` piu` simile alle telenovele),
svariando lungo uno spettro enorme di generi e di stili, dal world-beat
(Can U Keep A Secret) al garage-surf (Tread Water),
dalle fanfare funky (Eye Know, Change In Speak)
ai rap surreali che li resero famosi (Plug Tunin', Jenifa,
Me Myself And I), fra mille gag vocali e sonore di un minuto che
ricordano, oltre a Clinton, anche David Peel, i Gong, Van Dyke Parks e
ovviamente Zappa: il progressive-rap, eccentrico e vagamente hippy, nacque
Is Dead (1991) was a more serious effort, albeit a bit less elaborate.
De La Soul seemed to lack direction, as it changed style again from
Buhloone Mindstate (1993), perhaps their funkiest work, to
Stakes Is High (1996), the first album without Prince Paul.
The ambitious triptych
Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000),
and The Grind Date (2004) suffers from inconsistent material.
Are You In? (Nike, 2009) is a 45-minutes long mixtape.