Review Summary: Me, Myself, and I
As much as we all love 80’s Hip-Hop, it sort of went down a narrow path, just hearing a few seconds of an 80’s Hip-Hop song, you can easily tell it’s from the 80’s. see how that guy is dressed? That’s because he’s an 80’s rapper. 80’s Hip-Hop had a set of certain cultural norms that if you did not follow, chances are you wouldn’t be taken seriously, but De La Soul didn’t care, neither did legendary producer Prince Paul, and put together 3 Feet High and Rising, One of the most culturally, and sonically unique records, even for today.
Producer Prince Paul shows off his artistic dexterity with very lighthearted, cartoony, happy, diverse beats that actually feature great songwriting, some of the best examples of sampling in music, and fit marvelously with De La Soul’s 2 MC’s, Plug 1 and Plug 2 who actually aren’t actually as complex, or aggressive as any rapper, sometimes choosing not even to rhyme in their verses at all, but does it really matter if their lines are still catchy, well written and creative? The album also features skits that are hilarious, and makes listening to the album all the way through more of an experience. The album is centered around a game show, introducing all the members of the group, which are then asked very random, (in a funny way) questions.
The album has already received plenty of praise for it’s sound, but I think the message of it is very overlooked, De La Soul decided not to speak about how tough they were, or how good they were at holding the mic and rapping, but rather character, staying true to one’s self, and being the best you that you can be, these things may be very simple but we all still need to be reminded of these, and the simplicity adds to the nature of the album. While each song floats it’s own boat, the hit single Me, Myself, and I sums up this idea. The music video features De La Soul in school, particularly a class full of your stereotypical, 80’s rapper, that is harassing De La Soul for their image, and the records DJ Plug 3 is spinning.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Tell me, mirror, what is wrong?
Can it be my De La clothes
Or is it just my De La song?
What I do ain’t make-believe
People say I sit and try
But when it comes to being De La
Its just me myself and I
There are also other great examples in tracks such as Take It Off, which means to not to use Du Rags and other clothing items trending at the time to hide your natural born self. This is all put over a comedic overtone. Speaking of comedic overtones is the track I Can Do Anything (Delacratic,) which has De La Soul members naming ridiculous and over exaggerated things, telling us we can do what we want, and shouldn’t be condemned for it. Plug 1 and Plug 2 can jump off a building and hold two pieces of doo doo in their hand because they can.
Overall 3 Feet High and Rising is an influential milestone showing how music can express character, and any artistic vision It played a pivotal role in the Alternative/Jazz rap that was going on at the time, with artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Arrested Development, and Digible Planets bringing their own sounds to life while taking inspiration from 3 Feet High and Rising. De La Soul preserved the message of 3 Feet High and Rising with their sophomore record De La Soul Is Dead. De La Soul Is Dead sported an album cover of a smashed pot full of dead flowers, poking fun at the flower pedals on 3 Feet High and Rising’s album cover, and colorful clothes the group wears, but while some may see this as De La Soul wiping the slate clean of their image, those who understand De La Soul will see it’s them trying to tell we aren’t hippies, we aren’t hipsters, we aren’t going against Hip-Hop, it’s just “Me, Myself, and I.”