Of particular importance is the production by Prince Paul, who would become one of hip hop's hottest producers on the strength of this album. While sampling was hardly new, 3 Feet High and Rising revolutionized the technique and influenced virtually every producer and artist to come later.
On the Billboard Music Charts, 3 Feet High and Rising hit #1 R&B/Hip hop and #24 in the Top 200. NME (One of the greatest albums ever made), Village Voice ( the Sgt. Pepper of hip hop), Spex (also #5 on the top 100 Albums of the Century) and Face magazines named 3 Feet High and Rising the top album of 1989, while Rolling Stone placed it at #5, HUMO at #12, OOR at #8, Record Mirror at #2, Sounds at #4 and Melody Maker at #10. It also made it on Rolling Stones' 200 Essential Rock Records and The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums (both of which are unordered). more awards
Lyrically, the album was incredibly unusual for its time. Even beside its revolutionary exhortation for peace and harmony, many of the songs are extremely personal and heartfelt recountings of early sexual intercourse ("Jenifa Taught Me"), love ("Eye Know") and insecurity regarding personal appearance and fashion ("Can U Keep a Secret", "A Little Bit of Soap" "Take It Off"). Many of the lyrics are humorous and/or nonsensical ("Sun, ceiling/Ceiling connects to the sun, burning inside everyone, on a side Plug-a-fied sire/One million/Demonstrations have been heard, my hair burns when I'm referred/Kid shouts my roof is on fire/Go dancing/Dancing like a bandit, psychics try to stand it, keep it up until they burn a cell/Ro-mancing/Romancing dialect in shows, Posdnuos creating flow, you say you didn't know/Oh well, it's a D.A.I.S.Y. age."), and are inventive and original; Posdnuos compares the rhymes to dance in "The Magic Number" ("the phrasing Fred Astaires"). Many of the listeners who compared the group to hippies criticized the album for a childlike, simple approach at complex issues, as on "Tread Water", where a series of animals exhort the listener to maintain a positive mental attitude. Supporters point to songs like "Say No Go" as a realistic portrayal of the pitfalls of drug abuse (the title is a reference to Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign, Posdnuos criticez Reagan but applauds the sentiment); the song was deeply personal for Posdnuos, whose own brother was addicted to crack cocaine.
Though the idea was quickly abandoned, the original concept behind the group was that Mase was PA and Posdnuos and Dove were the microphone plugs, transmitting messages from Mars. This is the origin of the nicknames for Posdnuos and Dove, Plug One and Plug Two, respectively.
The Turtles won a lawsuit against De La Soul over the unauthorized sampling of "You Showed Me" on "Transmitting Live from Mars".
The title 3 Feet High and Rising comes from a Johnny Cash song called "Five Feet High and Rising" ("How high's the water, Mama?/It's three feet high and rising"). Cash is sampled on the album. Some have interpreted the title as a reference to drug abuse; De La Soul has not commented on this interpretation.
The members of the group have said that the only thing they would change about 3 Feet High and Rising is the cover, because the light-hearted colors do not mesh well with their sober faces.
Rolling Stone gave the album three stars and concluded that it was "(o)ne of the most original rap records ever to come down the pike, the inventive, playful 3 Feet High and Rising stands staid rap conventions on their def ear".
The first track, entitled "Intro", is a skit that takes place at a game show. The contestants (the three members of De La Soul plus producer Prince Paul) are asked four questions by the host (Al Watts), and their attempts at answering are scattered about the album.
- How many feathers are on a Purdue chicken? How many fibers are intertwined in a shredded-wheat biscuit? What does touche-et-eh-lay-pooh mean? How many times did the Batmobile catch a flat?
- Trugoy the Dove responds at the end of "Cool Breeze on the Rocks": "Umm. I wish my cousin Nag was here, he knows these things, no I'm sorry, I don't."
- Mase responds "No, no I don't" (which is quite humorous in its delivery).
"Can U Keep a Secret", in which the members of De La Soul discuss hygiene and bad haircuts, refers to Dante Ross (a Bad Boy Records employee) as a "scrubb" near the end, for unknown reasons, and employs a highly unusual Eastern beat.
The song "Ghetto Thang" is one of the few non-positive tracks on the album. It is a sad story about poverty and other social ills, even though De La Soul is from middle-class suburb Amityville, New York (on Long Island). Its denunciation of ghetto violence can be summed up in the words "Ghetto gained a ghetto name from ghetto ways/Now there must be ghetto gangs and ghetto play/If ghetto thing can have its way in ghetto rage/Then there must be some ghetto love and ghetto change".
"Description" describes each member of De La Soul, and a few others, in five lines each, the style reminiscent of a limerick.
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3 Charting singles
4 External links
1989 Me Myself And I The Billboard Hot 100 No. 34
1989 Me Myself And I Hot Rap Singles No. 1
1989 Potholes In My Lawn Hot Rap Singles No. 22
1989 Say No Go Hot Rap Singles No. 11
1989 Me Myself And I Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks No. 1
1989 Say No Go Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks No. 32
1989 Me, Myself Hot Dance Music/Club Play No. 1
1989 Say No Go Hot Dance Music/Club Play No. 3
1989 Me, Myself Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales No. 1
1989 Say No Go Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales No. 13
1990 Buddy Hot Rap Singles No. 2
1990 Buddy Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks No. 18
1990 Buddy Hot Dance Music/Club Play No. 27
1990 Buddy Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales No. 11