Record Label: Rhino Records
With its playful wordplay, innovative sampling, and witty skits, De La Soul’s 1989 debut album, 3 Feet High & Rising, is considered a hip hop masterpiece. It is also the band’s biggest commercial success to date, with their subsequent albums selling progressively less, despite receiving high praise from critics. A measure of 3 Feet High and Rising’s cross-over appeal was the fact that it was voted Album of the Year by NME, a title better known for its taste in guitar-based music. De La Soul has influenced numerous other hip hop artists such as Camp Lo, The Black Eye Peas, and Digable Planets. They were also influential in the early stages of rapper/actor Mos Def’s career, and are a core part of the Spitkicker collective. They are the second longest standing Native Tongue Posse group, after the Jungle Brothers.
The album marked the first of three full-length collaborations with producer Prince Paul, which would become the critical and commercial peak of both parties. It is consistently placed on ‘greatest albums’ lists by noted music critics and publications. Robert Christgau called the record “unlike any rap album you or anybody else has ever heard.” In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source Magazine’s 100 Best Rap Albums.