At the time of its 1989 release, De La Soul’s debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, was hailed as the future of hip-hop. With its colorful, neo-psychedelic collage of samples and styles, plus the Long Island trio’s low-key, clever rhymes and goofy humor, the record sounded like nothing else in hip-hop. Where most of their contemporaries drew directly from old-school rap, funk, or Public Enemy‘s dense sonic barrage, De La Soul were gentler and more eclectic, taking in not only funk and soul, but also pop, jazz, reggae, and psychedelia. De La Soul continued the development of their innovative style as trends in rap came and went. They released albums at a steady clip up until the time of 2004’s The Grind Date, but returned in 2016 with the crowdfunded And the Anonymous Nobody as well as the occasional stand-alone track.
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