The other night I was watching the VH1 Hip Hop Honors program (desperate plea for credibility) and, among the honorees were De La Soul. Now, if you know me, you know that De La Soul has always maintained within my top three favorite artists of all time of any genre. I first heard De La when I picked up a used cassette of 3 Feet High and Rising as a kid from Ralph's Records and Tapes. I think, on that same trip, I picked up Huey Lewis and the News. My head was split in two from the first listen.
The sounds, the breakbeats, the rhyme flow, the cover art, the bright colors, the flowers. I was captivated and, from that point on, there was no going back. I probably bought that cassette for $2.50. One of the best investments I ever made. I think about what if I had never gone in there that day. What if I didn't search that row of cassettes. What if I blinked as my finger ran over the spine of the cassette. I probably would've never heard that record. Turns out, De La would be a mainstay in my young life. They'd be the soundtrack to junior high as I would take De La Soul is Dead with me to school in my Walkman. I have very few memories that have lasted vividly through the years, but I remember one day I was walking to school and I ran into Kevin Monroe right outside of class. I had my headphones on and he walked up to me and asked, "What'chu listening to?" He snagged the headphones off my head and began listening. I believe "Oodles of O's" was playing. He smiled and began nodding his head. "You like that weird shit," he said laughing as he walked away. Yep, I guess I do. The De La experience for me would be a personal one. Not alot of kids in Lubbock were jamming De La Soul. Even in high school where it was Buhloone Mindstate and Stakes is High, alt rock was blowing up and the sounds of De La barely penetrated middle-of-nowhere Texas. But I had all the material and I listened with the intensity of a church boy listening to a sermon.
The other day, I snagged my copies of the first four De La records (which are always at the easiest of access) and took them up to work with me. I listen very passively up at work because, well, I have to. People envision my job as me leaning back in a chair with my feet up on a desk listening to CDs with my eyes closed. Truth is I listen more to the cross-traffic on the outside of my cube and the hum of my desk fan than actual music and that's because when I think about putting on music, I'm not thinking about my job. I have to have a rare break in the action before I actually say, "Man, it'd be nice to hear some music." The day I took my De La records up to work, though, I hardly got anything done. From the second I put on 3 Feet, I accomplished nothing. That's how good they are.
It was then that I thought that I had to do a De La mix. Original plan was to take all four records and string them together, but then you'd never get a chance to truly appreciate them. Those records are so thick with sounds that to unravel each little sample and stretch it out would be a mix that would be ten hours long. It's like if you took all the veins and arteries in the human body and strung them out, it would be a mile long (not sure if that's accurate). That's what these records are like. So, for that reason, I'm going to do them all in separate smaller mixes and I'll start with 3 Feet.
3 Feet, in its essence, is a nimble and fast record. In comparison to the records that would follow, the samples go by quickly at breakneck speeds. It bounces, weaves, dives and dashes. It's like a young prize fighter or a young skier. Young skiers cut alot quicker, enjoy moguls, jumps, tricks. As skiers get older, however, they enjoy more long slalom, less cuts and longer rides. No less the skill, mind you, just different. As De La aged, the samples went from four beats long to eight bars long. The wordplay was toned down for content and message. No less skilled and accomplished, mind you, just different. To mix all the records together would've been an absolute mess because, unlike Cypress Hill's first two records, the difference between the works are staggering. Plus, at length, it would be like listening to Beethoven's nine symphonies in succession.
I've posted this before, but it just seemed appropriate...I've been asked about the upcoming playoff matchups from a few folks and I will say this, of course I'm pulling for the Sox, but I don't think for a second that the Rays will go any shorter than seven games. And, I'm not even sure who will win. As faithful as I am to my boys, I wouldn't bet a buck against the Rays. They're just stout and with Lowell out, Beckett sore and the bullpen tired, it's gonna take a serious push from the rest of the team to make it to the Series. Los Angeles and Angry Tim are on fire right now. I guess it makes you realize that it really is the AL East versus the rest of the league. Los Angeles wouldn't be contenders without the addition of Torre (Yankees), Manny (Sawx) and Lowe (Sawx). Would be nice to see Dodgers versus Sox in the World Series, but really, with both of these matchups due to go seven, I shouldn't get to ahead of myself.
I'm tired of McCain. My lovely wife was complaining during the debates the other night that the dude's got short arms. There's another reason not to vote for his ass, he's got short arms. How's he gonna sucka punch foreign leaders with them short arms? Guess he'll get Palin to do it for him. She's already running the show anyway.
Gas is now creeping under $3.00 now. Ever get the idea that there was really never a shortage and the high gas prices were really just big companies padding profits in a rough economy and using fear and foreign struggles to justify or excuse such hikes? After enough bitching and moaning, the oil companies finally figure, "Come down, but don't do it overnight. Do it quietly, gradually or else people will suspect something." I'm still expecting to pay $1.50 by July of next year. Too hopeful?
Stakes is high, folks. This ain't yo' momma's America. They say we'll never retire. They also say we'll live forever. Does that mean that I'll work until I'm 180 years old? To hell with that.