I’m tired, slightly hung over, and feeling very uncreative, so this could be rather half assed. We will see how I feel once I start getting into this. With four hours of voting still to come for last weeks 3 Feet High & Rising Vs. Stakes Is High, it’s still too close to call. Only three votes separate the two albums. I’m actually kind of surprised, I figured that 3 Feet High…. would run away with it, although Stakes is High is my favorite De La album. We’ll see what happens when it’s up in four more hours.
Part two of the De La Soul “tournament” comes into play this week pitting their sophomore release of De La Soul Is Dead against the groups third album, Buhloone Mindstate. As I mentioned last week, I didn’t get into De La Soul until Stakes is High came out. I thought 3 Feet High and Rising was just plain weird, I liked a couple jams on De La Soul is Dead, but still saw no reason to check it out. Buhloone Mindstate just went over my head like it did a lot of people back in those days. After purchasing Stakes Is High, I started to go back to their catalog and De La Soul is Dead was the first album I went back and checked out. My tastes in hip hop was open enough by that time I could appreciate the beauty of De La Soul Is Dead. It would be later though until I could grasp the complexity found in Buhloone Mindstate, but now I can appreciate the greatness of the album. As I write this now, I’m not totally sure which way I’m going to vote.
- Much more accessible in nature than their lead off album, 3 Feet High & Rising. De La Soul tried to kill all that noise of hippies and the daisy age by basically reinventing themselves. ….Is Dead is a more mature effort, yet still plays and has fun.
- I thought the skits that tied this together through out the album was excellently executed. We get to hear the demise of Jeff as dicksnot and his boys beat the fuck out of him and jack him for the “new” De La Soul album. I never get tired of hearing them and still laugh out loud at certain sayings.
- The singles from the album were great. I had “Ring Ring Ring” as my answering machine message back in the day and “A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturday” is one of those tracks that you could play at any jam.
- It’s just an overall cohesive effort, which is saying something for an album that is 27 cuts long. It has a vibe that flows through out the album. Tracks like “Biddie in the BK Loung” and “Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa Claus” just make this album a great effort.
- There isn’t much to bag on in the album. I thought some of the focus of earlier in the album is lost, “Shwingalokate”, “Fanatic of the B Word”, and “Keep the Faith” (which sounds like a 3 Feet reject). So it could’ve been trimmed a little bit here and there.
- Not necessarily a negative for me, but if you were into their previous image, this would probably disappoint some.
- One could argue that Buhloone Mindstate is the most creative album in De La’s catalog. It was Prince Paul’s last time working with the group and he demonstrated a more mature sound than the previous two creations. Lyrically, I think Pos & Dave were at their pinnacle. Probably my all-time favorite De La Soul song is “I Am I Be”, in which Pos’ first verse is a classic:
I am Posdnous I be the new generation of slaves here to make papes to buy a record exec rakes the pile of revenue I create But I guess I don’t get a cut cuz my rent’s a month late Product of a North Carolina cat who scratched the back of a pretty woman named Hattie Who departed life just a little too soon and didn’t see me grab the Plug Tune fame As we go a little somethin’ like this look ma, no protection Now I got a daughter named Ayana Monay And I can play the cowboy to rustle in the dough so the scenery is healthy where her eyes lay I am an early bird but the feathers are black so the apples that I catch are usually all worms But it’s a must to decipher one’s queen from a worm who plays groupie and spread around the bad germ I cherish the twilight I maximize, my soul is the right size I watch for the power to run out on the moon (And that’ll be sometime soon) Faker than a fist of kids speakin that they’re black When they’re just niggas trying to be Greek Or some tongues who lied and said “We’ll be natives to the end” Nowadays we don’t even speak I guess we got ou
r own life to live Or is it because we want our own kingdom to rule? Every now and then I step to the now for now I see back then I might have acted like a fool Now I won’t apologize for it This is not a bunch of Bradys but a bunch of black man’s pride Yet I can safely say I’ve never played a sister by touching where her private parts reside I’ve always walked the right side of the road If I wasn’t making song I wouldn’t be a thug selling drugs But a man with a plan and if I was a rug cleaner betcha Pos’d have the cleanest rugs I am
-Again, there are some great singles, most notably the excellent “Ego Trippin’ 2″, in which Pos and Dave do their thing and listeners soon realize that they are no punks on the microphone.
-Two years ago, I wouldn’t even have to think about this decision, as I wasn’t all that big on Buhloone Mindstate, but this album sounds like it could have been released last month. It’s aged much better than De La Soul Is Dead.
- It’s not as digestible as some of the other albums. That was the main knock on the album when it first dropped and still to this day I pick up things every time I listen to it. They were never a group to really spoon feed you something, but this isn’t an album you can just listen to the first time and figure it all out.
When I started writing this very half assed post, I really didn’t know which way I was going to go. I’ve long considered De La Soul Is Dead as my second favorite De La album after Stakes is High, but over the last two years, my love for Buhloone Mindstate has really grown on me and become one of my favorite albums ever. When my man Floodwatch posted his autopsy for Buhloone Mindstate (one of my favorite blog posts EVER), I realized how great the album really was. I would have never dreamed voting this way, but it’s going to be Buhloone Mindstate
Winner: Buhloone Mindstate