Saturday, October 30, 2004

De La Soul 

A blast from the past -- fading fast?

Original alt-hippie hip-hop band De La Soul isn't dead yet, but if their reception and resulting demeanor at last night's Pearl Street show was any indication, they're not making much bread these days.

Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed both the show itself and the experience of taking my advisees out for a night on the town. But there might have been 40 people in the club when the show got started, and though there were surely over a hundred by show's end (enough, anyway, to create some pretty fine eye candy when the band invited all the ladies in the audience on the stage for the last song and a half) the guys seemed a bit pissed at their own loss of popularity, and took it out on the show. The frustration undercut their trademark goofy humor in turn.

But it's hard to blame the boys in the band here. It's hard to run through a playbook filled mostly with songs of peace and love when you're not getting the respect a great group like De La Soul is used to and deserves. It's hard, too, to get a crowd when you're a 1989 phenom playing a predominantly white college area and MTV forgets to put this particular date on their tour listings for the band.

Perhaps that's why of those who were there, late or not, it was clear that those of us who genuinely remember De La's 1989 release, the groundbreaking 3 Feet High...and Rising, were far outnumbered by the teenybopper poseurs. And ain't nobody knew the words to any of the songs of their new album. So sad to see a band once proclaimed the future of hip-hop so easily fading into the genre's past; I'd give a direct link, but they don't even have a webpage.

Incidentally, media-slash-music geeks might recognize De La Soul as the first Hip Hop band to get sued for sampling, which itself had major implication in music and the life of De La itself. As MTV tells it:
De La Soul had sampled the Turtles' "You Showed Me" and layered it with a French lesson on a track on 3 Feet High called "Transmitting Live From Mars," without getting the permission of the '60s pop group. The Turtles won the case, and the decision not only had substantial impact on De La Soul, but on rap in general. Following the suit, all samples had to be legally cleared before an album could be released. Not only did this have the end result of rap reverting back to instrumentation, thereby altering how the artists worked, it also meant that several albums in the pipeline had to be delayed in order for samples to clear. One of those was De La Soul's second album, De La Soul Is Dead.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:05 PM |

I guess the song "Me, Myself, and I" was kinda prophetic.

Kinda sad - but their kind of rap is all for the nostalgia bin now.
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