De La Soul is an American hip-hop band, which became famous due to its eclectic singles, unusual lyrics, and a big input into the development of jazz rap and alternative hip-hop branches.
The band’s lineup includes Kelvin Mercer, David Jude Jolicoeur, and Vincent Lamont Mason. Back in 1987, while they were still in high school, the musicians formed a band and caught the attention of the producer Prince Paul with their demo single "Plug Tunin". The trio’s debut album 3 Feet High and Rising, which came out in 1989, is called a hip-hop masterpiece. It became the band’s most successful album to date, earning platinum certificates. All the following LPs released by the groups were less commercially successful but earned positive reviews from the critics nevertheless.
In 1991, De La Soul released its second album. It was called De La Soul Is Dead. In the lyrics, the musicians criticized a harsh direction in which the hip-hop culture was moving. At the same time, the group managed to maintain its light and somewhat unusual sense of humor. The album’s cover featured a broken flowerpot and a daisy, which was supposed to symbolize the death of an era.
The album included such popular singles as "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa" and "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)". Vincent Mason and the producer Prince Paul read several lines in these songs. The LP earned mixed reviews from the critics and wasn’t as commercially successful as its predecessor. However, it managed to earn a gold status from RIAA. At that time, many fans tried to book De La Soul for private events.
The band’s third LP, Buhloone Mindstate, came out in 1993. It showed that the trio continued to grow and develop. The critics paid due attention to the instrumental track "I Be Blowin”. Three years later, the musicians recorded one more album, Stakes Is High. This time, Prince Paul didn’t do any production work for the LP.
The album’s sales weren’t too good. However, the critics liked it for the sound and the ideas. The leading track. "Stakes Is High" didn’t become a hit. However, the second single "Itzsoweezee (HOT)" turned out to be popular. The LP also featured a song “4 More”, recorded with a singer Zhane. It reached the 52nd spot on the British charts. The album gave a jump-start to the career of a rapper and actor Moss Def, who helped record a song, "Big Brother Beat".
In 2000, the band announced its plans to release three albums from the series Art Official Intelligence. All of them were supposed to appear within one year. The first one was AOI: Mosaic Thump. At the end of 2001, the group presented AOI: Bionix. However, the final album never appeared. For two years, De La Soul kept releasing remixes and compilation albums.
In one of his industries, David Jolicoeur explained that it takes at least four years to release one album. They need to record it, promote it, arrange a tour, and much more. The group had numerous reasons not to release the third LP from the AOI series. One of them was disagreements with their label, Tommy Boy Records.
In 2002, the group toured with such artists as Modest Mouse, Cake, Hackensaw Boys, and Kinky as part of the Unlimited Sunshine tour. At the same time, De La Soul and Double recorded a soundtrack to the video game PaRappa the Rapper 2. They called it "Say I Gotta Believe!"
The next LP, The Grind Date, appeared in 2004 with the assistance of Sanctuary / BMG Records. The contract with Tommy Boy ended. Many fans enjoyed the new album. Critics gave it positive reviews.
In 2005, the group helped record a single "Feel Good Inc.", which became a hit by Gorillaz. It was nominated for three Grammy Awards. After the success, Gorillaz invited the group to record their third LP. They worked on the single "Superfast Jellyfish" with Gruff Rhys. In the music video, "On Melancholy Hill", the musicians from De La Soul appeared as cartoon characters. They also worked on Gorillaz’ track “Momentz”, which became part of their fourth album.
After a long break in recording new songs, in 2012, De La Soul presented its 8th LP, Plug 1 & Plug 2 Present... First Serve with the assistance of a French duo, Chokolate and Khalid. The album wasn’t marketed properly and didn’t make it into the charts.
Four years later, the group released one more album, And the Anonymous Nobody... It turned out to be highly successful, reaching the 12th spot of Billboard 200. The LP was nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Rap Album.
De La Soul continues recording new hits and performing live.