Members of De La Soul arrive at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on February 21, 2001.

It’s a big day for fans of legendary hip-hop group De La Soul. The trio, who debuted in 1989 with their classic 3 Feet High and Rising, has never been able to release their first six albums digitally – for streaming or download. There have been a variety of reasons for this. The albums have all been out of print for some time as well. But that all changes today, as their classic albums are now available digitally (and they’re selling physical reissues of some of them). Sadly, this comes just weeks after the death of one of the group’s members, David Jude Jolicoeur (also known as Plug Two, Trugoy the Dove, and later just Dave).

A lot of fans, including Questlove, are trying to encourage fans to stream and legally download the albums as much as possible this week in an effort to get all six albums into Billboard’s top 10 next week. If you’re not familiar with the group – all of their records are great. But here are some of the most notable songs in their catalog.

  • “Me Myself and I” from ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ (1989)

    “We hate this song! We hate this song!” Posdnuos (aka Kelvin Mercer, or Plug One) and Dave would chant this when they performed the song. But they’d play it anyway. It was their first single and made a big impact. Pos, Dave and Maseo (Vincent Lamont Mason Jr., also known as Pacemaster Mace or Plug Three) were huge hip-hop fans. But they loved to poke fun at a lot of the tropes and cliches in the genre. This was on display in their firstmusic video. It immediately established them as a a group that did not follow trends.

  • “Say No Go” from ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ (1989)

    A warning against drug use: Pos rapped, “Now let’s get right on down to the skit / A baby is brought into a world of pits / And if it could’ve talked that soon / In the delivery room / It would’ve asked the nurse for a hit.” The song samples Hall & Oates’ classic “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” Daryl Hall told this writer that when he first heard the song he was flattered. Many other artists had a different reaction: ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ was released before clear laws about sampling were in effect. The band were plagued with lawsuits over bits and pieces that they sampled on this album.

  • “Eye Know” from ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ (1989)

    Another song that sampled heavily: it inclues vocals, guitar and keyboards from Steely Dan’s “Peg,” Otis Redding’s whistling from “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay,” and drums from Lee Dorsey’s “Get Out Of My Life, Woman.” It would be really difficult for a new group to clear all of those samples on a debut album today.

  • “Buddy (featuring A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latfah, Monie Love and Jungle Brothers)” from ‘3 Feet High and Rising’ (1989)

    The song helped to establish the Native Tongues, which included A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, Monie Love and the Jungle Brothers, some of the best and most distinctive hip-hop artists of the era.

  • Queen Latifah featuring De La Soul - “Mama Gave Birth To The Soul Children” from ‘All Hail The Queen’ (1989)

    From Queen Latifah’s debut album. Back then, the Native Tongues frequently guested on each other’s records and appeared in each other’s videos. This song, like much of the album, was produced by Prince Paul, who also produced ‘3 Feet High and Rising.’

  • “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)” from ‘De La Soul Is Dead’ (1991)

    The first single from De La’s second album ended up on everyone’s answering machine back in ‘91 (ask your parents about answering machines). “Hey how ya doin’/Sorry ya can’t get through/Why don’t you leave your name and your number/And I’ll get back to you!” It was inspired by the deluge of demos that hopeful artists were sending the group once they broke through.

  • “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’” from ‘De La Soul Is Dead’ (1991)

    A celebration of roller skating jams, it also features Q-Tip. The song is really sample-heavy, using rock band Chicago’s “Saturday In The Park,” along with a bit of Frankie Valli’s theme song from Grease and Chic’s “Good Times.”

  • “Ego Trippin’ (Part Two)” from ‘Buhloone Mindstate’ (1993)

    Like “Me, Myself and I” this song poked fun at hip-hop. The video — which hopefully will resurface on YouTube soon – sees the group driving expensive cars (while an on-screen chryon points out “It’s a rental”), and hanging in a mansion (“He don’t really live here”). The group also dunked on their own lack of machismo while screaming like Onyx, a popular group at the time.

  • A Tribe Called Quest featuring Dave - “Award Tour” from ‘Midnight Marauders’ (1993)

    All three members of De La Soul – Posdnuos, Dave and Mase – appear in the video, but only Dave is on the song, rapping the hook “We on award tour with Muhammad, my man
    Going each and every place with the mic in their hand.” But the video and the song showed the bond between the two biggest groups from the Natvie Tongues.

  • De La Soul and Teenage Fanclub - “Fallin’” from the ‘Judgement Night’ soundtrack (1994)

    The ‘Judgement Night’ soundtrack paired rock bands and hip-hop artists (Helmet and House of Pain, Living Colour and Run-D.M.C., Slayer and Ice-T). But most of the songs were very metal and in your face. “Fallin’” – which sampled Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” – showed how De La always went against the grain. It’s one of the few mellow moments on the album.

  • “Stakes Is High” from ‘Stakes Is High’ (1996)

    One of De La’s hardest songs, it dared to criticize hip-hop, not just poke fun at it. Dave went there with his verse: “I’m sick of bitches shakin’ asses/I’m sick of talkin’ about blunts/Sick of Versace glasses/Sick of slang/Sick of half-ass awards shows/Sick of name brand clothes/Sick of R&B bitches over bulls— tracks/Cocaine and crack/Which brings sickness to blacks.” In the video (which they, hopefully will post to YouTube again), he’s “keeping it real” while he’s rapping… while doing his laundry at a laundromat. Pos comes back with “Yo, it’s about love of cars, love of funds/Loving to love mad sex, loving to love guns/Love for opposite, love for fame and wealth/Love for the fact of no longer lovin’ yourself, kid” He later says, “No offense to a player, but yo, I don’t play/And if you take offense, f— it, got to be that way.”

  • “Oooh (featuring Redman)” from ‘Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump’ (2000)

    “Most crews are post-current while we’re forever/Direct beats that’s contagious, loved by all ages/Graduated from the you-and-I-versity.” De La Soul was never the hottest thing on the pop charts, but the love they are getting right now – 23 years after this song – shows that they are, in fact, loved by all ages.

  • “All Good? (featuring Chaka Khan)” from ‘Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump’ (2000)

    Chaka Khan gives the song a vintage feel, as the group takes aim at people who were there when De La was at their most popular and then jumped ship. “We were certified hot, then dropped to lukewarm/Now we back up in the spot, claiming never been gone/To cut us off, wanna reattach us now…So stick to the same plan, don’t come shaking my hand/Like we peeps, it ain’t beef but be sure to understand/Between us, it ain’t all/It ain’t all good, and that’s the truth.”

  • “Shopping Bags (She Got From You)” from ‘The Grind Date’ (2004)

    De La’s take on “gold diggers.” It had an unusual sample” “Nous Sommes Du Soleil” by ‘70s British progressive rock band, Yes.

  • Gorillaz featuring De La Soul - “Feel Good Inc.” from ‘Demon Days’ (2005)

    Gorillaz are a cartoon band led by Damon Albarn (from British band Blur) and animator Jamie Hewlett. They have a long history of inviting interesting artists to collaborate with them, including Del The Funky Homosapien, MF Doom, Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, Bobby Womack, Grace Jones and Mavis Staples, among others. One of their biggest hits, “Feel Good, Inc.” featured a verse from Dave. It turned a whole new generation on to De La.

  • Gorillaz featuring De La Soul - “Crocadilaz” from ‘Cracker Island’ (2023)

    Gorillaz and De La reunited for a bonus track from their latest album.

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