Producer: Prince Paul Album: De La Soul Is Dead Label: Tommy Boy De La Soul "Intro" De La Soul "Skit 1" De La Soul "Skit 2" De La Soul "Skit 3" De La Soul "Skit 4" De La Soul "Skit 5"
Perhaps the most astonishing thing about De La Soul is Dead is the number of creative risks that Plugs, 1, 2, 3 took along with producer Prince Paul. Flexing a level of artistic freedom that's rare in popular music, the group went all-out blending satire, social commentary, and crazy imagination to gave birth to a collection of shape-shifting songs that broke all the rules. Just how unconventional was this record?
Well, for starters, De La weaved two separate series of skits through its duration. The read-a-long children's book storyline (with Mase, Mista Lawnge from Black Sheep and Chi Ali supplying the kids' voices) not only addressed the inevitable backlash from finicky fans (the rugrats find De La's second album in the trash) but also showed just how many brainwashed followers there were in hip-hop (the bully torments his victim for daring to like something different). It was as if De La was telling the audience to grow up and think for themselves in the most non-condescending way possible.