De La Soul is a benchmark group when it comes to hip-hop trios. The group enjoys hip hop classic accolades as they should. Here is our list of the top 5 De La Soul albums.
5. Stakes is High (1996)
De La Soul’s fourth full-length album, Stakes Is High, was released on July 2, 1996. As their first release that was not produced in collaboration with Prince Paul, the album marked a change in the group’s sound and direction. The group produced most of the tracks for Stakes Is High, with additional tracks provided by Jay Dee, DJ Ogee, Spearhead X, and Skeff Anslem. Due to its subject matter and production, it is considered the group’s darkest and most serious album.
4. De La Soul is Dead (1991)
The album consists of a number of separate skits. An added character named Jeff stumbles upon an old cassette tape copy of the De La Soul album in the trash. This is set up in the form of a parody of old children’s books and records. Jeff is attacked and robbed by bullies. This album is viciously attacked in subsequent skits featuring these bullies. Black Sheep’s Mista Lawnge voices the main antagonist, and Pasemaster Mase plays the bully who is ridiculed by Lawnge for admiring the album. Throughout the skits, the reader’s attention is drawn to the sound of the page-turning signal. A fictional radio station WRMS plays nothing but De La Soul music on the album, and at the end, they throw the tape back in the trash.
3. The Grind Date (2004)
De La Soul’s seventh studio album, The Grind Date, was released on October 5, 2004. Art Official Intelligence (AOI) III was originally intended to be the final album of the trilogy, but when the album’s focus changed, the group decided to put the trilogy on hold and finish The Grind Date as a stand-alone.
2. Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000)
A three-disc album was originally planned for this album, but only a single disc was released. It features Redman, Tash, and J-Ro of Tha Liks, Xzibit, Busta Rhymes, Mike D and Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys, Busy Bee, Freddie Foxxx, and soul diva Chaka Khan. The album was also nominated for a Grammy.
1. 3 feet High and Rising (1989)
On March 3, 1989, Tommy Boy Records released De La Soul’s debut studio album, 3 Feet High and Rising. The first of three collaborations with producer Prince Paul, it would become a critical and commercial peak for both parties. “Five Feet High and Rising” is a Johnny Cash song which inspired the title. There are four singles on the album: Me Myself and I, The Magic Number, Buddy, and Eye Know.
Both critically and commercially, the album was a success. Critics and publications consistently place it on lists of the greatest albums of all time, with Robert Christgau describing it as “unlike any other rap album you’ve heard.” Source Magazine named it one of the 100 greatest rap albums of all time in 1998. Among a list of recordings chosen annually by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its National Recording Registry, this recording was chosen for its cultural, historical, or aesthetically significant nature.