How we’ve gone this long without a post dedicated to De La Soul is beyond me. They remain one of my favorite groups of all time and are without a doubt one of the most influential groups in hip hop music. After catching the attention of Prince Paul in the late 80s, De La exploded on the scene with their critically acclaimed debut Three Feet High and Rising, which featured such seminal classics as “Me Myself and I,” “Eye Know” and “Buddy.” Due to their offbeat style, non-traditional samples and positive message, De La were criticized early on amongst the hip hop community for being hippies. People simply were not ready for the revulotionary sound that De La Soul was producing. The tone of the music darkened somewhat in their subsequent releases, but the positive message remained the same. If it weren’t for De La, there would be no Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Digable Planets or any other backpack rappers for that matter. Respect Due.

“Me Myself and I”

“Eye Know”

“Ego Trippin”

This evening I spent a good amount of time trying to decide what to post. Totally afflicted with writer’s block, or I guess in this case blogger’s block, I finally caved and turned to wiki for some inspiration. I became engrossed with the random articles and links about the origins of hip hop, and almost forgot my original intention.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the vids posted below. I definitely tried to go past the 1990’s, and into the earlier days of hip hop. As a note, I’ve never actually seen the vid of “Rockit” before, and now I feel slightly traumatized. I would put masturbating mannequins in the “never needed to see” category.

Herbie Hancock – Rockit

Kurtis Blows – The Breaks

We can’t pay homage to Old School hip hop without mentioning the role played by Def Jam. Started by Rick Rubin in his NYU dorm (1984), and later joined by Russell Simmons, Def Jam quickly signed names like Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, EPMD and the list goes on. Issues concerning money, corruption, and personal disputes have befallen Def Jam throughout the years, but their early influence on hip hop cannot be ignored.

Below are two vids that bring it back to the early days. Enjoy.

Public Enemy – Don’t believe the hype

EPMD – The big payback

Note: I keep remembering kids in first grade screaming “Mama said knock you out.” Couldn’t leave it out. Ha.

LL Cool J – Mama said knock you out