De La Soul
- Mark Edmundson
- 28 May 2009
De La Soul got stung. For much of the two decades since the release of seminal hip hopera 3 Feet High And Rising, Plugs One, Two and Three have been at pains to put a significant margin between themselves and the care-free, cartoon mishmash of crunchy beats, unlikely samples and in-jokes that made their trio a household name and primary target for hip hop’s first wave of sampling lawsuits. At last they are making a return to their teenage opus, so fun-packed with enduring party favourites as to have been the alternative soundtrack to the UK’s second summer of love, and treating it to the attentions of a full live band.
It is unclear whether this world tour is recounting 3 Feet … in its entirety from ‘Intro’ to ‘Potholes …’ as has become de rigueur. Although they have turned out glimpses of unfettered greatness across the years that followed the debut still stands alone in sound, stance and influence. Indeed the sprawling album (and excitable liner notes) stands well the test of time.
Above all, De La shows have garnered a reputation for proving lazy and anticlimactic, thus the prospect of hearing but a snapshot of the glory days recreated with full live band the Rhythm Roots Allstars punching out the hooks is thrilling to say the least, with talk of ‘rehearsals’ offering further assurance to those who have stood impatiently through lack lustre performances in the past. Suddenly what was passable becomes imperative.
HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, Fri 5 Jun; Arches, Glasgow, Sat 6 Jun